Monday, October 4, 2010

Venezuelan theologian Pedro Trigo S.J. receives honorary doctorate

In a public meeting of the university senate, the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla (IBERO Puebla) gave an honorary doctorate in Latin American Christology to Dr. Pedro Trigo S.J. in recognition of his continuing strong commitment to promoting respect for human beings, especially those who are disadvantaged in our society.

Dr. Trigo is one of the most recognized theologians in Latin America today. A Jesuit originally from Spain, he became a Venezuelan citizen and is presently a professor at the School of Theology at Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. He is a research member of Centro Gumilla and chair of Jesuit socio–political studies in Venezuela. He has written numerous books and articles on theology, philosophy and Spanish literature for international journals and is a frequent participant in conferences and seminars throughout the world on liberation theology.

The awarding of the honorary doctorate took place in the Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J. Auditorium Gymnasium of IBERO Puebla, in the presence of the university senate members, officials, students and scholars from the university. Monsignor Víctor Sánchez Espinosa, Archbishop of Puebla, also attended.

To intitiate the ceremony, Dr. Maria Eugenia Sanchez Diaz de Rivera, sponsor of the candidate, recalled that Pedro Trigo is one of the most recognized Latin American theologians currently and that the honorary doctorate was being given to him for his ability to communicate "complex aspects of reality and to express the unconditional love of the 'maternal Father', as he calls God, in the drama of this ever more absurd and uncertain world. Pedro Trigo has shown an emotional ability, integrity and sensitivity at the same time, worthy of our times. This is manifested in his daily life in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas."

"The Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla, which in the midst of many difficulties and contradictions eagerly seeks to be a place that develops in students the analytical skills and the desire to join fraternally in an effective way with those who have been historically humiliated, that tries to help society "think about itself," as Ellacuría used to say, and that wants many people inside and outside to discover the deeper dimensions of the human, is honored to deliver to Pedro Trigo an honorary doctorate," said Dr. Sanchez Diaz de Rivera.

Later, Master Juan Luis Hernández Avendaño read the message of Master Dávalos Fernández, president of the University Senate. "Pedro does not require our homage, he is a wise and simple man who, if he has accepted this honorary degree, has done so on behalf and in support of the causes of the poor and suffering in Latin America, to whom he has dedicated his life and thought; it is the building up of himself as a fair and generous human being that exalts and praises him, not our distinction. It is the contribution that he has made as a Christian to the cause of the human race that makes him shine, not our recognition." Elsewhere in the rector's message one reads: "At the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla, with this tribute, we wish to state that indigenous peoples, women, migrants, children, all the excluded and the hopes that they carry are at the heart of the efforts of our university. With this distinction we want to remind the people of Mexico and our region that the full satisfaction of the needs of the poor is a subject still pending and it seems now forgotten. We intend to raise our voice to denounce that the suffering of millions of men and women is crying out to heaven for full justice and freedom."

Subsequently, on behalf of the President of the IBERO Puebla, Master Juan Luis Hernández Avendaño awarded an honorary doctorate in Latin American Christology to Dr. Pedro Trigo and administered the pledge of fidelity to the new Doctor, who pledged to continue sponsoring the dialogue between faith and justice, particularly in Latin America.

In turn, Dr. Pedro Trigo accepted and thanked the university for the honor: "I accept this title which you have so generously granted me, confused because I'm aware that my contributions have been modest, grateful because you are giving it to me, the community of the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla, that since the first time you invited me, welcomed me with such warmth, closeness and understanding as only you can do. Grateful because I think of you as an earnest, skilled, dynamic community, able to work together, aware of your responsibilities to the country and in solidarity with the least. I accept it, above all, happily because it is a tribute to Latin American Theology. Latin American theology today is not fashionable. Today the elites tend to look to the first world and in its case to the north. Today this theology is seen as unwelcome interference and so they eagerly seek to turn the page that has caused such a stir," he said.

"Only from below can the good of all be achieved, only when poor people do well will everyone do well, now more than ever we are aware that the good of the least is not achieved by the overflow to them from the abundance of those above, although it is not easy for those above, who have enough elements to make decisions to their advantage, to accept this," said the new Doctor Honoris Causa.

Finally, he called on universities to give priority to human development over scientific and technical development. "If universities eventually adapt to the requirements of the corporation and become its human material suppliers, they will lose some of their transcendance and will be part of the problem not the solution. Another particular problem is to synchronize Latin American time and world time. Because only then will we be able to enter globalization with our own weight and profile and be able to contribute," he concluded.



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