Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Colombian Jesuit silenced over critical review of Pope's book

Fr. Alfonso Llano Escobar, S.J. had learned the hard way that it doesn't pay to critique your boss's writings. Fr. Llano, whose weekly column "Un alto en el camino" ("A stop along the road") had appeared in the major Colombian newspaper El Tiempo for 30 years, has been told that his writing career has come to an end.

In a message to the editorial board of the newspaper, Fr. Llano wrote that "Father Adolfo Nicolás, the superior general of the Jesuits, has ordered Father Alfonso Llano to consider his apostolic vocation as a writer to be over, has deprived him of his freedom of speech, and is demanding that he not even say goodbye and that he keep absolute silence."

The priest columnist earned his silencing for a November 24th column in which he offered his views on Pope Benedict XVI's new book, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, and specifically on the doctrine of the virginity of Mary. The column focuses on internal debate about the subject within the theological community and is worth translating in its entirety:

The Infancy of Jesus. That's the title of the third volume of the trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth by theologian Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI. It has been published in nine languages, including Spanish, and will be published in a first global edition of one million copies.

With a series of articles in the press and interviews on radio and television, I would like to guide readers of this book by the Pope, which offers a special difficulty -- the virginity of Mary -- which will give theologians and the media a lot to talk about.

To begin with, the latter are wondering why the Pope is going back to a point that seems now passé, namely, Mary's virginity.

Answer: for three reasons, one of which is obvious, and that is that theologian Ratzinger set out to write a trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth. He had already taken care of Jesus' public life and his Passion, death, and Resurrection. He lacked this third volume, already announced, about Jesus' infancy. And now he does it, a subject that necessarily leads him to talk about Mary's virginity. Second, because Jesus is the central figure in the Catholic faith, and it's the Pope's duty to preach Jesus whether it's convenient or inconvenient, in good times and bad, as Saint Paul advises Timothy (2 Tim 4:2). Third, because the subject of Mary's virginity is being revisited by some Catholic theologians and requires clarification.

Talking about Jesus isn't easy, because he's a mystery, the central mystery of the Catholic faith, which confesses that Jesus is true (son of) man and true (son of) God. This double reality implies a double birth. Saint Paul, in the letter to the Philippians tells us that Jesus was a common man (Phil 2:6-7). Saint Matthew, the same one who tells us about Jesus' divine conception (1:26), presents Jesus as the son of Mary and Joseph (13:53 ff.) and with several brothers and sisters. It's appropriate to clarify that, in the judgment of North American Catholic biblical scholar John Meier, who has studied the problem in depth, in the four Gospels it's about real blood brothers of Jesus (A Marginal Jew, I, 341). It's time to leave behind the fairy tale that they're Jesus' cousins. This assumption is argued to safeguard Mary's corporal virginity. The Pope cites the work of this great biblical scholar several times in his trilogy, without contradicting his interpretation of the corporal non-virginity of Mary.

So that the Pope's position in this third volume can be understood, it's useful to take into account that in theology there are two complementary ways to get to Jesus: a descending way, which is the one the Pope follows, and that the first four councils followed, which leans on John 1:14: "The Word became man", a way that emphasizes Jesus' divinity, as the Pope does; and the other way is ascending, which was the historical way, that starts with the man Jesus and ends with his exaltation as Son of God, according to which Mary had a big family.

In sum: the reader of this work by Ratzinger will find the affirmation of Mary's virginity. Given that the Pope follows the descending path in this work, he emphasizes his divinity, which gives rise to the theological virginity of Mary (Mt 1:26) and silences his humanity, whose origin isn't virginal (Mt 13:53 ff). In other words: Mary conceived the Son of God virginally, in the theological sense, without the intervention of Joseph, as is narrated in Matthew 1:26, by the work of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, as mother of Jesus the man, just like us, she conceived him through an act of love with her legal spouse, Joseph, with whom she had four sons and several daughters (Mt 13:53 ff).

Let's wait for the book and talk more knowledgeably.


Fr. Llano was told he had to publicly recant before he was completely silenced and he wrote one last column called "Mea Culpa!" on December 8th, in which he apologized to any readers who were offended or confused by his previous column. This final column consists of a series of quotes from Lumen Gentium about Mary and a couple from the Pope's book, which the priest says he hopes will "bring peace of mind and restore the trust of the people of God in the teachings of the Church." It's as notable for what it leaves unsaid as what it says.

And now a great silence descends...

What can we do?

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 10, 2012

John the Baptist's preaching shook the consciences of many. That prophet from the desert was telling them out loud what they were feeling in their hearts: that it was necessary to change, to come back to God, to prepare themselves to welcome the Messiah. Some approached him with this question: What can we do?

John the Baptist has very clear ideas. He doesn't propose that they add new religious practices to their lives. He doesn't ask them to stay in the desert doing penance. He doesn't speak to them of new precepts. The Messiah must be received by looking attentively to the needy.

He doesn't get lost in lofty theories or deep motives. In a direct way, in the purest prophetic style, he sums it all up in a brilliant phrase: "Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” And us? What can we do to welcome Christ amid this society in crisis?

First, make a much greater effort to know what's going on. Lack of information is the first reason for our passivity. Also, not tolerate lies or covering up of the truth. We have to know, in all its rawness, the suffering that is being generated unfairly among us.

It's not enough to live with fits of generosity. We can take steps towards a more sober life. Dare to experiment with impoverishing ourselves little by little, cutting back our current level of well-being to share with the neediest the many things that we have and don't need in order to live.

We can be especially attentive to those who have fallen into serious problems of social exclusion: those who have been evicted, deprived of due medical attention, without any income or any social recourse at all...We have to go instinctively to the defense of those who are drowning in powerlessness and lack of motivation to face their future.

From the Christian communities, we can develop various initiatives to be near the most scandalous cases of social distress: knowledge of specific situations, mobilizing people so no one is left alone, contributing material resources, managing possible aid...

The crisis is going to be a long one. In the coming years we will be offered the opportunity to humanize our crazy consumerism, make ourselves more sensitive to the suffering of the victims, grow in practical solidarity, contribute to denouncing the lack of compassion in the management of the crisis ... It will be our way of welcoming Christ more truly into our lives.

Some words -- and a song! -- from Padre Diego about Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Peruvian missionary and singer Padre Diego has offered his Facebook friends a lovely reflection on Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day today, which I'm taking the liberty of sharing with you, followed by my own translation of his words into English...followed by a video of one of Padre Diego's many songs to Our Lady. Do check out Padre Diego's website for more of his music and reflections. -- RG

Padre Diego:

Hoy el Pueblo latinoamericano celebra la fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, madre y patrona de nuestros pueblos.

Mujer madre, de rostro Indio, virgen morena, de nuestra propia raza, mujer campesina, madre amorosa a la que acudimos para fortalecer nuestra esperanza. El evangelio nos pone en contacto con un relato que evidencia la presencia de la maternidad de Dios.

La visita de María a Isabel es una gran lección de solidaridad, de fe y de alegría por las cosas que Dios ha hecho y cómo las ha hecho.

La generosidad de María con Isabel muestra la manera cómo ella ha entendido la misión que Dios le ha encomendado. La fe de María, exaltada por Isabel, es una manifestación del amor y la responsabilidad con la que María asume su papel en la obra de la salvación. Ella es destinataria de la dicha, de la alegría de Dios.

Hoy como cristianos estamos llamados también a participar del plan de Dios, viviendo con generosidad al servicio de los hermanos más necesitados. La fe no se cultiva sólo en el culto; se robustece, ante todo, con la práctica de la solidaridad.

Translation:

Today the Latin American people celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, mother and patroness of our peoples.

A woman, a mother with an indigenous face, brown-skinned virgin of our own race, a peasant woman, loving mother to whom we go to strengthen our hope. The gospel puts us in touch with a story that shows the presence of the motherhood of God.

Mary's visit to Elizabeth is a great lesson in solidarity, faith, and joy because of the things God has done and how He has done them.

Mary's generosity towards Elizabeth shows how well she understood the mission that God entrusted to her. Mary's faith, exalted by Elizabeth, is a manifestation of the loving responsibility with which Mary takes on her role in the work of salvation. She is the recipient of God's blessing and joy.

Today, we as Christians are also called to participate in God's plan, generously living at the service of our neediest brothers and sisters. Faith isn't nurtured only through worship; it becomes stronger, above all, through the practice of solidarity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Maximino Cerezo: "Prophets exist outside the church structure"

Liberation theologian and artist Maximino Cerezo Barredo is enjoying a renaissance of interest in his work following the publication this year of a book about him in Italian, Un viaggio latinoamericano -- Maximino Cerezo Barredo: uomo, artista, missionario by Sara Favre (Forum Editrice, 2012). There is also a new website www.minocerezo.it devoted to Mino Cerezo's oeuvre, including a catalog of many of the murals he has painted throughout the world. It's an impressive virtual gallery that's very much worth visiting if you haven't had the good fortune to see the murals themselves. And, of course, many readers of this blog are already familiar with the plainer collection of Mino's work on Servicios Koinonia, from which we get his drawings that we use to illustrate our translations of José Antonio Pagola's weekly biblical reflections. And now an interview with the artist himself...

by José Manuel Vidal (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Periodista Digital
November 12, 2012

Maximino Cerezo is a consecrated liberation theologian and artist. He's a Claretian and his work is spread over half the world, but he says that Latin America "turned him around." A friend of Pedro Casaldáliga, he highlights [the bishop's] "radical, not theoretical, faith" and states that "prophets exist outside the church structure."

An expert on Latin America, Maximino thinks that "the cultural level of Hugo Chavez is superior to that of many European heads of state." And for the old continent, he wishes a liturgical renewal. "People pray for more vocations, but the seminary is an obsolete institution."

How did your painting vocation arise? Has it been there since childhood?

Well, yes. Since I was a tiny kid, I've doodled more or less successfully. Then I studied religion in Gijón, where there was a quite significant artistic environment, propitious for developing art. I began to paint as an amateur, and continued to work with the Claretians.

Were you aware of your talents as a boy?

Painting attracted me. I was the one in charge of destroying my father's books by drawing on the blank pages. It was a hobby that later became solidified. When I studied theology, I discovered that it was a world that fascinated me. There I got in contact with various journals, with the Dominicans in France...

Did your religious vocation emerge after, or at the same time as your artistic vocation?

It didn't have anything to do with it. My religious vocation emerged during a Juventudes camp, talking to a chaplain who started badgering me. He made me think a bit, and then I decided to do it. The truth is that throughout my life I've wanted to combine the two vocations.

And do you think you've achieved it?

At least I've tried to. It isn't easy. It caused me trouble because I combined the two vocations in the world of the poor, of liberation. And that gave me opportunities that many artists haven't had. Being a priest and hearing the call from the world of the poor and feeling that, coming from a rich world like the European one, you choose the world of the poor, and you want to convey what's happening in that world...that's been very important to me. Before going to Latin America, I painted like everyone around here paints -- very airy things, very European colors and subjects...Until the world of Latin America turned me around.

During the time in Europe, did you meet Kiko Argüello?

Yes, we were both doing Fine Arts in the same period. I was in one class and he was in another, but we got together. That's when the change took place in Kiko Argüello, who appeared before the students as an atheist, until he did the Cursillo de Cristiandad, and the Cursillo changed him completely. Then he led everybody to pray and make a Via Crucis to a church on Alcalá Street.

Was he good artistically?

Yes. Now he's into those byzantine things, reproducing icons...He was a good painter, but now reproducing the icon forms in religious paintings seems to me to be outdated. It's a [style of] painting that doesn't represent the world of the poor at all.

Nonetheless, Rupnik also follows this line of angelical, almost disembodied, painting.

Disembodied, yes. We were working together a while, but later our paths were very divergent. For me, America was living and being born again.


But didn't you convert to the world of the poor during an experience you had in the Philippines?

Yes. Well, everyone is always being converted. I've had many conversions in my life but one of them was, indeed, on a very small island in the southern Philippines. You could walk around the whole perimeter of the island in an afternoon. There, I was invited by the bishop of the diocese or prelature, who came to Spain when I was doing Fine Arts. He invited me to paint and do some works in the cathedral he was building, so I went initially for three months, but then the thing got extended and I was there longer. I was living like a priest then, in the worst sense of the word: I was the spiritual director in a dorm, I had my private car, I was a Fine Arts teacher, a chaplain and an Architecture professor...in contact with the little lords of the university, but in an environment in which one could already note the change from Spain, where the cops would come in to the university and high schools to punch people out. So it was a major leap.

Is your painting still in that cathedral?

It's a mosaic-mural. I was going to do a painting but failed because the background of the wall was made of cement and sand, but sand with sea salt. It couldn't be. So I changed it into a mosaic and I also made the stained glass windows and stations of the Cross.

And so the definitive conversion to the poor was in Latin America?

When I was living here, I was mulling over the issue of the university. "That's not for me," I said to myself. To the world, I wondered why I was wasting my time with these kids who would call me at night because they had spiritual doubts about whether or not it was a sin to kiss their girlfriends. Either that or they would talk to me about masturbation. With no sort of interest in social issues. When I came back from the Philippines, the province had just accepted a very neglected zone in an area in southern Peru, in the jungle. But there weren't the people. Those who had it wanted to leave, so the bishop went to Rome and talked to the Claretians. So I went and said I wanted to go, and at the beginning they said no, that I was in the university, that I was the least likely to go...I insisted, and finally I was commissioned to find more people. They sent me to the houses, the high schools, to look for young people...I went and talked to them and we got a team of six. We went to Cóbreces and held a retreat there. It was 1968 then, when the Medellin meeting, which was so important, took place. That same year Pedro Casaldáliga went to Mato Grosso. And I went to Latin America two years later.

Did you always have a special chemistry with Pedro?

Yes. We're from different provinces -- he's Catalan and I'm from the north -- but we worked together on a journal of testimony of which Teófilo Cabestrero was the editor in chief, Pedro, the director, and I, the artistic director [IRIS-Revista de Testimonio y Esperanza]. We were working on the same team for 3 or 4 years, and a very intimate and personal relationship emerged from that, a very fraternal one. Not just like two friars who know each other, but something deeper -- friends who agree on many things. For me, Pedro's testimony was very significant, and it might be that my calling to America comes in part from that.

Do you even agree along the artistic vein? Could your painting complement his poetry? Is there a sort of symbiosis?

Yes, there's a special relationship. I illustrated the first book of poety he came out with without having any idea of what Brazil was like. But through his poems themselves, when I got to know Brazil later, I realized that I had had quite an intuitive vision of the world in which Pedro Casaldáliga moved.


What is so seductive about Pedro?

A huge personality and radical -- not theoretical -- faith. A faith of deep commitment to personal poverty and to poverty as solidarity with the world of the poor. And to the causes of Latin America and the world of Liberation. Pedro identified totally with it.

Why are there no longer practically any people like him, no longer any prophets?

Ask the Holy Spirit. Although I don't know if it'll answer you. There are no more prophets. I suppose some will emerge in another historical time because if we believe in the Holy Spirit, it won't leave the Church this way. But these times are anti-prophetic. Now we're in the second period of slavery of the People of God, a Babylon. And people keep praying for vocations, for people to go to seminary! When the seminary is already an obsolete institution, finished. Putting people in seminary is denying propheticism. Prophets exist outside the church structure.

How can this be changed?

I don't know. But I hope it changes.

During the period of Pius XII we were worse off than now, and suddenly a Pope came who turned everything upside down. Do we have to wait for something like that to happen again?

Yes. The Spirit blows when and where it will; nobody knows where it's going. When you're most worried, it suddenly appears.

What do you want to convey with your painting?

I learned the strong colors from the Latin American world -- very different from the grays and ochres I used here. I learned to use those pure bright colors in Latin America, like those used by the women who make cloth in Guatemala. What I want to convey through painting is God's way of being that is embodied in the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth. He's not a distant, absent God, but a God who became human in Jesus. But not for mankind in general, rather starting from the option for the poor.

A God whom one sees in your paintings even suffering and crying like the poor?

Of course. Jesus was continually proclaiming the Passion to his disciples and they didn't understand it, and moreover they were afraid to ask. What I'm trying to convey is the paschal situation of the Latin American people -- between life and death. A death that leads to the Resurrection, as the Latin American people have in fact resurrected so many times. The blood of so many martyrs caused by the persecution from so many military dictatorships is producing a series of small groups, small church base communities that are scattered throughout the territory of Latin America, perhaps under different names (study group, Christian community,...) that are taking up the banner that was carried by those who began the struggle.

So it isn't true what they sometimes say, that liberation theology is dead?

No.

On the contrary, couldn't it be said that liberation of the people is bearing fruit, for example, against North America?

Yes. But in a different way than the concept of liberation we had in the 60s and 70s, which was, rather, liberation from the people's economic problem, material poverty. The world of liberation theology has broadened among indigenous people, peoples of African descent, women...The world of the poor doesn't end at the economic limit.

Evo, Lula, Chávez... didn't they emerge from there, from the same clay?

Lula, yes. And Chavez too. And Correa. Correa had a lot of contact with the Latin American thinkers of Ecuador and with the European theological world. Chavez is one of the most intellectual heads of state we currently have in Latin America. His cultural level is superior to that of many of the European heads of state, as is Fidel Castro's.

But in Europe they treat him just the opposite.

Of course, but who is treating him like that? Those who have their own interests. Economic ones, usually. Look how they treat poor Evo, who's a very classy guy, too. They did the same thing with the Mexican fellow from Chiapas, Subcomandante Marcos -- treating them like crazy people.

Where are we going, both at the societal and the church level? What do you think are the trends?

I think we're going towards small communities that live out the faith intensively through a process of conversion. With a commitment to an austere life, with an ecological perspective that we have been neglecting for a long time. I think we're going to abandon the triumphalism of Christianity as the Constantine regime, to arrive at the small seed that Jesus talked about, that's going to grow but without attempting anything more.

Have we lost the cultural war, the one of beauty, of literature...?

Our way of speaking is totally incomprehensible for today's world. With the knowledge of astronomy that we have, what does this business of "God above" mean? There's a language we use in the liturgy and in the Eucharistic prayers that is completely alien to the younger generations. The old ones tolerate it, but they're the only ones. There are priests (not those of Opus Dei or the Legionaries) who accompany the people, and who are helping the older people jump from the era of the Catechism to a post-conciliar vision. And they're getting into it little by little.

I'm working with Emiliano Tapia who's a pastor from here in Salamanca who has a working class barrio and two rural villages. We're trying to train a group of adults in a different vision. So here I've found an environment very similar to the one in Latin America. But it's very special. Emiliano Tapia isn't like most of the clergy in Salamanca. He works in the jail, takes inmates who are on parole to his house, gives food to some 20 undocumented people (Latin Americans, Nigerians, Arabs...). The world of the poor is also here, and it's also a challenge.

Apart from this catechetical and support work, are you still painting?

Yes. I just finished a painting for one of those rural villages. In the latest one I'm painting, the characters have traits that are a bit mestizo.

Are you now getting closer to Europe?

Somewhat. But I'm still painting many things for Latin America.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dom Pedro Casaldaliga forced to leave home due to death threats

EFE (English translation by Rebel Girl)
12/9/2012

Glória Casaldáliga, the niece of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, who was forced to leave São Félix do Araguaia, in Mato Grosso, because of threats related to his work in favor of the Xavante, stated on Sunday that her uncle is "OK, but very worried about the situation." In an interview with Radio Catalunya, Glória stated that the bishop, who is 84 and suffers from Parkinson's, decided to leave his home in Brazil "not just for his safety, but also for that of the other people who live there."

Glória Casaldàliga talked with her uncle yesterday afternoon and said that in spite of the circumstances that forced him to leave his residence, she found him "OK and calm." The bishop's niece added that her uncle wants "this situation to end as soon as possible" and also that he "very much wants to go back to his home in São Felix with 'his own'." Pedro Casaldáliga left the town of São Félix do Araguaia due to an upsurge in the threats he has been receiving for years because of his work in favor of the Xavante, an indigenous support organization told EFE.

"Dom Pedro is safe," said a spokesman for the Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI), an organization linked to the diocese, who declined to say where Casaldáliga was taken. According to him, the bishop is in a place where he is protected by the federal police. CIMI reported that threats have doubled in recent weeks, apparently due to an impending court decision which, according to judicial sources, is likely to be in favor of the Xavante in a case involving the ownership of lands that are located near Sao Felix do Araguaia.

For more than two decades the Xavante have counted on the support of Casaldáliga, who came to this remote Mato Grosso township in 1968. Born in Balsareny, in Barcelona, Casadáliga came to Amazonia after spending seven years as a missionary in Equatorial Guinea. In Mato Grosso, the bishop embraced liberation theology, a current born in the grassroots movements of the Catholic Church in Brazil.

See also Nota de solidariedade a Dom Pedro Casaldáliga, a statement of support for Dom Pedro signed by multiple local NGOs.

Photo: Dom Pedro with some Xavante members of his flock.

The road as archetype

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia and in Portuguese on his blog. Some of his older columns are available in English at LeonardoBoff.com.

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)
12/7/2012

I have a special fascination for roads, especially country roads that painfully climb the mountain and disappear into the curve of the forest. Or the roads along which I walked in my student days in the Alps in southern Germany that are covered in multicolored leaves on gray autumn afternoons. And it's that roads are within us. We must ask the roads the reason for distances, why they're sometimes tortuous and make us tired or are difficult to navigate. They keep the secrets of the walkers' feet, the weight of their sorrow, the lightness of their joy at meeting a loved one.

The road is one of the most ancient archetypes of the human psyche. Man keeps the memory of the whole road followed throughout the 13.7 billion years of the evolution process. He keeps the memory especially of when our ancestors emerged -- the branch of vertebrates, the class of mammals, the order of primates, the hominid family, the genus Homo, the current sapiens/demens species.

Due to this immense memory, the human journey presents itself as complex and sometimes indecipherable. In each person's road, millions and millions of past experiences of roads traveled by countless generations, are at work. The task of each one is to extend this path and make their way in a form that enhances and deepens the path received, straightening what is crooked and bequeathing to future walkers a road enriched by their steps.

The road has been and remains an experiment in course that indicates the goal and simultaneously is the means by which the goal is reached. Without a path, we feel lost, inside and out. We are filled with darkness and confusion. Like humankind today, aimless and flying blind, with no compass and no stars for guidance through the dark nights.

Every human being is homo viator, a traveler on the road of life. As the indigenous Argentine singer poet Atahualpa Yupanqui says, "Man is the Earth, walking." We don't receive a completed existence. We have to build it. And for that we must make a way, starting from and going beyond the paths trodden by those who preceded us. Even so, our personal journey is never fully given. It has to be built with creativity and fearlessly. As the Spanish poet Antonio Machado says, "Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking."

Indeed, we are always on the road to ourselves. Basically, either we fulfill ourselves or we get lost. Therefore, there are fundamentally two paths, as the first psalm of the Bible says: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked, the path of the light or the path of darkness, the path of selfishness or the path of solidarity, the way of love or the way of indifference, the path of peace or the path of conflict. In a word: the way that leads to a good end or the way that leads to an abyss.

But pay attention: the real human condition is always the coexistence of the two paths, which often intersect. Within the right road, the wrong road is hidden too, and within the wrong road, the right one. Both cross our hearts. This is our drama that can turn into crisis and even into tragedy.

As it is difficult to completely separate the wheat from the chaff, the good road from the path of evil, we must basically choose one of them: the good one, although it's at the cost of renunciation or might even bring disadvantages, but at least it gives us peace of conscience and the sense that we're right. And there are those who choose the path of evil: it's easier, it doesn't impose any limits, anything goes as long as it benefits us. But it charges a price: the accusations of our conscience, the risks of punishment and even being eliminated.

Fundamental choice confers an ethical quality to the human journey. If we choose the path of goodness, small missteps or setbacks won't destroy the path and its direction. What really counts before the conscience and Him who judges everyone with righteousness, is this fundamental choice.

For this reason, the dominant trend in Christian moral theology is to replace the language of venial or mortal sin with one more suited to this unit of the human journey: fidelity or infidelity to the fundamental option. You don't have to isolate the actions and judge them without connection to the basic option. It's trying to capture the basic attitude and background plan that are translated into actions and unify the direction of life. If goodness is chosen constantly and faithfully, more or less kindness will be conferred in actions, despite the ups and downs that always occur but don't manage to destroy the path of good. This person lives in a state of grace. But there are also those who choose the path of evil. They will certainly pass through the severe clinic of God if they find pity for their wickedness.

There is no escape: we have to choose which road to build and how to go along it, knowing that "living is dangerous" (Guimarães Rosa). But we never do it alone. Multitudes walk with us, united in the same destiny, accompanied by Someone who is called "Emmanuel, God with us."