Monday, March 4, 2013

Leave the Curia, Peter! - A poem-reflection by Pedro Casaldaliga

Dom Pedro Casaldaliga, bishop emeritus of São Félix do Araguaia, Brazil, has written a beautiful poem-reflection inspired by the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, encouraging the Pope to leave behind the constricting structures of the Vatican and risk meeting the Christ who "sweats the blood of the poor" in the garden.

Bishop Casaldaliga has also been in the news recently for asking to have his name withdrawn from a journalism prize offered by the Comissão Estadual de Erradicação do Trabalho Escravo ("State Commission for the Eradication of Slave Labor"), an entity linked to the state government in Mato Grosso. He did this to protest the nomination of Janete Riva as secretary of culture because a farm owned by Riva appears on a list of slave labor operations compiled by Brazil's Department of Labor. Casaldaliga is well known for his activism against slave labor in Brazil.

Here is Casaldaliga's poem in its original Portuguese and my humble English translation of the same.

Deixa a Cúria, Pedro!

Deixa a Cúria, Pedro,
Desmonta o sinédrio e as muralhas,
Ordene que todos os pergaminhos impecáveis sejam alterados
pelas palavras de vida e amor.

Vamos ao jardim das plantações de banana,
revestidos e de noite, a qualquer risco,
que ali o Mestre sua o sangue dos pobres.

A túnica/roupa é essa humilde carne desfigurada,
tantos gritos de crianças sem resposta,
e memória bordada dos mortos anônimos.

Legião de mercenários assediam a fronteira da aurora nascente
e César os abençoa a partir da sua arrogância.
Na bacia arrumada, Pilatos se lava, legalista e covarde.

O povo é apenas um "resto",
um resto de esperança.
Não O deixe só entre os guardas e príncipes.
É hora de suar com a Sua agonia,
É hora de beber o cálice dos pobres
e erguer a Cruz, nua de certezas,
e quebrar a construção - lei e selo - do túmulo romano,
e amanhecer
a Páscoa.

Diga-lhes, diga-nos a todos
que segue em vigor inabalável,
a gruta de Belém,
as bem-aventuranças
e o julgamento do amor em alimento.

Não te conturbes mais!
Como você O ama,
ame a nós,
simplesmente,
de igual a igual, irmão.

Dá-nos, com seus sorrisos, suas novas lágrimas,
o peixe da alegria,
o pão da palavra,
as rosas das brasas...
... a clareza do horizonte livre,
o mar da Galileia,
ecumenicamente, aberto para o mundo.

Leave the Curia, Peter!

Leave the Curia, Peter,
disassemble the Sanhedrin and the walls,
order all the impeccable scrolls to be changed
to words of life and love.

Let us go to the garden of the banana plantations,
undercover and by night, at any risk,
for there, the Master sweats the blood of the poor.

The tunic/vestment is this humble disfigured flesh,
so many cries of children unanswered,
and memories embroidered with the anonymous dead.

A legion of mercenaries besieges the frontier of the rising dawn
and Caesar blesses them in his arrogance.
In the tidy bowl, Pilate, legalistic and cowardly, washes himself.

The people are just a "remnant",
a remnant of hope.
Leave them not alone among the guards and princes.
It's time to sweat with His agony,
It's time to drink the chalice of the poor,
lift the cross, devoid of certainties,
shatter the building -- law and seal -- of the Roman tomb,
and wake up to
Easter.

Tell them, tell us all
that the grotto of Bethlehem,
the Beatitudes,
and the judgement of love as food,
remain in force and steadfast.

Be no longer troubled!

As you love Him,
love us,
simply,
as an equal, brother.

Give us, with your smiles, your new tears
the fish of joy,
the bread of the word,
roses of embers ...
... the clarity of the untrammeled horizon,
the Sea of Galilee,
ecumenically open to the world.

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