Back to Index

Central America, the Maryknolls and the Jesuits

     I have selected this message from several similar ones. Incidentally, Tim Walch is director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Memorial in West Branch, Iowa. He is used to defending Herbert Hoover against the unsubstantiated changes made against him. He writes:
     I am concerned about the sweeping tone of Tom Brown's comments on Catholic missionaries in Latin America. To be sure, there are some missionaries who have picked up guns in support of revolution. These priests have been condemned by their superiors. It is untrue to state or imply that any religious order promotes or justifies violence. That would violate their charism to say the least. We all must take care to avoid sweeping generalizations that can and have been used to justify violence against all missionaries and religious, even those who are working for peaceful change. The deaths of Oscar Romero, as well as Jean Donovan, Ita Ford, and other missionaries are a chilling reminder of the violence against those who speak for the poor in Latin America.

     My comment: Other WAISers say that the charges against Bishop Samuel Ruiz are based on hearsay and unfair. Similar criticisms were made voiced of the former Central American revolutionaries who spoke earlier this year at UDLAP in Puebla. I was not there.
     I said that a fair hearing would demand the testimony of the Bishop. I am reminded of the Italian pentiti, former mafia members used as key prosecution witnesses in the trial of former prime minister, Christian Democrat Giulio Andreotti, accused of ties with the mafia. It turned out that they had lied, telling stories they thought the prosecution would like to hear. Andreotti was exonerated, but the party was ruined, which may have been the aim of the people manipulating the pentiti. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. The scales of justice must be even.
     Incidentally, I must thank Tim Walch for the material he has send me about his library, including the copy of The Problems of Lasting Peace Revisited, which bears true witness to Hoover as a promoter of peace. Let us not forget why he founded the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace.

Ronald Hilton - 11/10/99