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A Mexican Sunday in San Antonio

Today, mass in San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas, brought some new insights. A press item told us that Archbishop Patricio Flores had been kidnapped with two of his assistants. Fortunately the police caught the criminal. When asked what should be done with him, kind old Patricio, who makes a habit of visiting prisons, simply said "Forgive him".

America is a place where the wealthy are respected, partly because of the Calvinist belief that they are God's elect. Once, in a conversation with an Argentine Catholic woman, I pointed out that primitive Christianity was socialist, if not communist. She replied "They soon found out that it doesn't work". Now, with liberation theology, real Christian socialism is coming back. The lesson today came from the passage in Acts which tells how the Christians sold their possessions and distributed the proceeds to everyone according to his needs. In 19th-century France the socialists argued as to whether wealth should be distributed to each according to his needs or his deeds. Both Bavarian Christian Socialism and Communism derive from this argument, at least in theory.

A special guest at today's mass, sent by Archbishop Norberto Rivera of Mexico City, was the priest promoting the canonization of the Indian peasant Juan Diego. This canonization will take place in the Shrine of Guadalupe on June 30, when Pope John Paul visits Mexico City. The promotor gave a homily stressing that the story of Juan Diego is not a pious myth; it has been studied scientifically for a long time. He emphasized that the Virgin of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas. Presumably the promotor will visit other American cities to bring them the good news. Mexican Americans will be thrilled as Mexicans, it is doubtful that other Americans will be.

Father David García reported that seven people has been baptized by total immersion and that six more had begun the year-long study of the faith. Presumably all were non- or nominal Catholics. He then blessed some water, making it holy, and once more toured the church sprinkling the congregation. This is done during the Easter season to demonstrate that the faithful have been baptized again.

The violence in Israel is on everyone's mind, and it was the theme of Father Garcia's sermon. He chose as his text the passage where the apostles, fearing the Jews, had shut themselves up. Christ twice appeared miraculously to them, convinced doubting Thomas that it was really he, and then told them to trust God, pray and practice love. Father Garcia concluded that only our prayers can bring peace to the area. He did not mention President Bush.

Ronald Hilton - 4/7/02