Georgetown University Law Center happens to be
one of the schools attended by president Clinton.
From- March 8, 1996 page 17
National Catholic Reporter
By- Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan
[ professor at Georgetown University Law Center]
SLAIN JESUITS GET NO NOD AS POPE BOWS TO SAENZ
I felt almost personally rebuffed when I noted from a news account that the pope, during his 10 hours in El Salvador in February, "did not visit the memorial garden where six Jesuit priests were executed in 1989 by government troops at the University of Central America."
I was also chagrined that Pope John Paul II mentioned Archbishop Oscar Romero "only in passing in remarks outside the cathedral." He did pay a brief visit to Romero's tomb outside the National Cathedral, an event not scheduled until the last moment.
Shifts in the Holy See's approach to El Salvador were also evident in the pope's address, one almost certainly prepared by archdiocesan officials in San Salvador.
Echoing official propaganda of the Republican Nationalist Alliance, or ARENA, now in control of El Salvador , the pope blamed the former Soviet Union and the United States for "turning Central America into a battleground," adding that "political and economic ideology, like unrestrained Marxism and capitalism ..... have lacerated the fabric of your society and unleashed the horrors of hate and death."
Is the pope trying to tell the world that Sandinistas in Nicaragua and insurgent rebels in El Salvador were nothing but tools of Moscow and Cuba? What about their long struggle for land reform, their rebellions against the despotism of Somoza in Nicaragua? What of the wealthy 14-family oligarchy in league with the military in El Salvador?
The photo that dominated the coverage of the pope's visit in El Salvador on Feb. 9 showed that country's president, Armando Calderon Sol, kneeling to kiss the pontiffs ring. Meanwhile. church officials there, including the new archbishop, Fernando Saenz Lacalle, a Spaniard and member of Opus Dei, prevented the pope's portrayal in photos that would give any recognition to insurgents or dissidents or remind the world of the government's lawlessness and savagery.
The pope bought and repeated the government's fantasy that the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front were all communists and agents of "unrestrained Marxism." The pope read the script prepared by Saenz, who has said that liberation theology, the biblical perspective that led to the church's involvement in the region's civil strife, "ferments hate."
Romero and the six Jesuit intellectuals who were slain by the government would certainly have disagreed with the pope's characterization of the tumult in their country. These churchmen defended their efforts on behalf of the poor as commitment to the mandates of the Second Vatican Council and the church's social encyclicals over the past century.
No one would know from the pope's visit or statements that the politicians now in power in El Salvador gave amnesty to convicted colleagues, including those who killed the Jesuits. Nor could anyone understand from the pope's visit that it was a form of liberation theology that prompted social revolutionaries to rise up and demand redistribution of the land and a government that would respect the rights of the peasants. According to news reports, the pope disappointed Salvadorans who had hoped he would speak about economic dislocation and offer at least limited support for liberation theology.
Several months ago, just before elections in El Salvador, I visited the graves of the six Jesuit martyrs. The eight people with me, all preelection observers, remained in total silence for many minutes after we viewed the place where the Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were slain at 2 a.m. on Nov. 16, 1989.
It was that horrendous event that caused the leaders of El Salvador to stop their madness and call for a U.N. commission on reconciliation. The U.N. group brought about an armistice and an election. For the pope to avoid this turning point in the history of El Salvador in order to conciliate a still-brutal government struck me personally as incomprehensible, strange and blind.
On Nov. 11, 1995, I spoke at the University of Chicago at the annual Mass and memorial for Jesuit Fr. Ignacio Martin-Baro, one of the Jesuit martyrs who had received his doctorate from the University of Chicago. In my remarks, I noted that in the past 15 years 32 Jesuits have been slain because in their work they were linking promotion of faith with advancement of justice.
The pope deliberately turned his back on those in El Salvador who were murdered because they were heroically carrying out the compelling command of Vatican II that those pursuits are inseparable.
The pope deliberately turned his back on those
in El Salvador who were murdered -[in sidebox]
The pope prays at the tomb of Archbishop Oscar
Romero in San Salvador Feb. 8. [picture caption]