Resurrection in El Salvador:
A Feisty Sermon from Sister Peggy
|Sister Peggy and our guide Cristina — North Americans who've dedicated a lifetime to the Salvadoran people.|
During the repression of the 70s and 80s, many nuns and church women were murdered. They have certainly been resurrected in the nuns and church women so outspoken in El Salvador today. We met Sister Peggy, a North American Sister of Charity, who's spent most of her working life here. She talked to us in the church where Romero was assassinated. Here's some of her message:
The soldiers have faded into the back ground. They're not shooting people any more. The new martyrs are poor children dying in the face of indifference from people who either don't care or have their wealth based on suffering of others.
Latin America is one of the most Christian parts of our world...with one of the biggest gaps between the rich and poor. As the gap grows, it's a kind of war...a situation which is an enemy of life. Hunger is violence. There can be no peace when there is still hunger.
"Forgive and forget" is the mantra of the privileged class in El Salvador. The unprivileged can forgive, but they don't want to forget. We need to become "professors of never again" in our society. These days, any move to find justice is discredited. The right wing says "it just opens up the wounds of the past." We ask, "Whose wounds?"
The government would prefer to just forget Romero and all he stood for. It controls the media. It writes the text books. On the 10th anniversary of Romero's death, not a word was seen in the newspapers. On the 20th anniversary, Cardinal Mahoney of the USA came to the memorial Mass with 40,000 people attending. That was covered modestly in the papers. This year, on the 25th anniversary, the local papers are devoting many pages to the huge rallies and marches. Romero vive!
With the spirit of Romero so alive, El Salvador is becoming the school for the globalization of solidarity. As we globalize economics, we need to globalize love and compassion. We need to evolve from adolescent souls (playing king of the mountains) to adult souls. As we study all this, we must ask not "who am I" but "Whose am I?"
Poverty in this world of affluence is a scandal. We must gain a new perspective of scandal. Basta – enough! Enough scandal! In the littlest shack they understand free trade, preferential option for the poor...and preferential option for the truth. When will we have a preferential option for the truth?
Suffering and sadness are not synonymous. Salvadorans laugh as hard as they cry. They say, "If God wills, tomorrow will be better." Here in El Salvador we believe that, on the day you meet your maker, you will be met by an angel to wipe away your tears. Woe to you who arrive with dry eyes. While it's not in my vocabulary, a friend recently told me her new way to say FU: "woe to you who arrive with dry eyes."