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Goodness Revealed

An interview with liberation theologian Jon Sobrino


In an interview in Sojourners magazine with Michelle Garcia, Catholic liberation theologian Jon Sobrino talks about the Vatican's rejection of his notion of the "church of the poor," the indifference of the world's powers to marginal people, and the reality of suffering and violence in many Third World countries. Citing a theme of his books, the nature of reality, Sobrino comments: "Reality is what's being covered up, the things that are covered up and are very hard to unearth. Hope is a reality."

Garcia concludes the interview by recalling a woman who represents for her Sobrino's idea of "primordial sanctity," or "a type of dignity that comes from wanting to survive."

"My mind turns to Doña Francisca Oreliana, a woman I met in the northern province of Chalatenengo where, during El Salvador's civil war, support for the guerrillas was fierce and the government backlash was unforgiving. A bomb dropped in front of her house. As she sat weaving a palm mat, she described to me how the shrapnel cut through her pelvis, how she found help at a guerrilla-run clinic.

" 'I saw our brothers sick, lying in bamboo cots, and my heart broke,' Doña Francisca said. 'I always prayed the rosary. I stayed there watching the sick. There was Jesus crucified.' She prayed not simply for life, but also to serve. 'Let me live, Lord, so that I may weave palm mats for those who suffer, to ease their pain.' Doña Francisca's weathered face exuded pure happiness. With such dignity in her daily struggle to live, one could never imagine calling her 'poor.' When Sobrino says 'primordial sanctity,' I see Dona Francisca."

Read this at Sojourners


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