Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Memoriam: Fr. Ronaldo Muñoz

Chilean priest and liberation theologian Fr. Ronaldo Muñoz, SSCC has died of cancer at 76. Muñoz received his doctorate in theology at the University of Regensburg in Germany in 1972 with a thesis on the new consciousness in the Church in Latin America. He sought to bring together his training in systematic theology with his experience living and working with the Christian base communities in Santiago. Fr. Muñoz was a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

From 1965 to 1980, Muñoz was a member of the theological team of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Men and Women Religious which edited the "Theology and Liberation" series and he was an advisor to the bishops during the conferences at Puebla, Santo Domingo and Aparecida. One of his more interesting articles after Aparecida analyzes the key differences between the document that the bishops approved and the final version as revised by the Vatican. Muñoz offers a point by point comparison showing how the original document was watered down. Example:

Versión original
191. La Eucaristía, signo de la unidad (…) misterio del Hijo de Dios hecho pobre, nos plantea…

Versión oficial
176. La Eucaristía, signo de la unidad (…) misterio del Hijo de Dios hecho hombre (cf. Fil 2,6-8), nos plantea…
Among his publications are "Nueva Conciencia de la Iglesia en América Latina" ("New Consciousness in the Church in Latin America"); "La Iglesia en el Pueblo: Hacia una Eclesiología Latinoamericana" ("The Church in the People: Towards a Latin American Ecclesiology"); "Pueblo, Comunidad, Evangelio. Escritos Eclesiológicos" ("People, Community, Gospel. Ecclesiological Writings"); "Nueva Conciencia Cristiana en un mundo globalizado" ("New Christian Consciousness in a Globalized World". His most widely published work was "Dios de los Cristianos" ("The God of Christians") which has been translated into Portuguese, English, French, Italian and German.

As a tribute to Fr. Muñoz, we would like to share a poem he wrote. I would not presume to translate it and take away from its original eloquence but, to summarize, he says that the Church he loves is one of small mud chapels, of the poor and witnesses to truth, of service. He calls for a Church of fewer blessings of weapons, banks and governments and more marches for peace, justice and freedom...to which we can only add a grateful and heartfelt "Amen!":

LA IGLESIA QUE AMO (Padre Ronaldo Muñoz, Teólogo)

Pocas catedrales de canto y oro,
muchas capillas de barro y tabla.

Pocos ricos adiestrados a la indiferencia,
muchos pobres expertos en pasión compartida.

Pocos letrados calculadores y prudentes,
muchos sencillos que saben de fe y de esperanza.

Pocos doctores muy seguros de su doctrina,
muchos testigos que escuchan de verdad.

Poco poder de fariseos y sacerdotes de carrera,
mucho servicio humilde a los hermanos más pequeños.

Pocos proyectos de dólares y marcos,
muchas mingas de sudor y canto.

Pocas ceremonias en palacios y cuarteles,
muchas fiestas en aldeas y barrios marginales.

Pocas bendiciones de armas, bancos y gobiernos,
muchas marchas de paz, justicia y libertad.

Poco temor al Dios del castigo y de la muerte,
mucho respeto al Dios del amor y de la vida.

Poco culto de espaldas al pueblo
a Cristo rey eterno en las alturas.

Mucho amor y seguimiento a Jesús el de María,
Compañero, Profeta, Hijo del Padre.

Poco, cada vez menos,
mucho, cada vez más.



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