Monday, February 15, 2010

The Audiencia de los Confines

I took this photo Sunday of the entrance to the Gracias, Lempira, parish radio station which is the site of the Audiencia de los Confines where Fray Bartolomé de las Casas went to try to get assistance against the people of Chiapas who were revolting against his defense of the Indians. (See the previous post.)

The church in the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, which includes Gracias, continues this tradition. It openly opposed the coup, its bishop was called crazy (as was Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas), but it is a sign of hope.

I recently heard someone from another diocese say that the rebel diocese of Santa Rosa is helping rescue the church from hypocrisy.

There is a concern that the official church is supporting government truth and reconciliation processes which may not face the truth and might offer "easy" reconciliation which may cover up the injustice in Honduras.

I've also heard people from other dioceses who've criticized the church's stand on the coup, noting that bishops and Cardinals may be wrong. And though some look on the hierarchy as THE priests, this person noted that all the baptized are prophets, priests, and kings - as noted in the baptismal rite. And so we must use our baptismal prophetic gift.

On the other hand there are some disturbing reports of a priest who is in favor of the resistance claiming to excommunicate anyone in his parish who voted, claiming that they cooperated in corruption and sin. They cannot participate in base communities or in church ministries. In a situation which is rather complicated, this is overkill and unwarranted.

But many others in the church are seeking to be both prophetic and reconciling. That's what needs to happen.


phoenixwoman said...

I thought that excommunication had to be approved at higher levels. I somehow think the Bishop will pay a visit to the parish and set things right.


John (Juan) Donaghy said...

"Excommunication" is probably a stronger word than I should have used but a friend used that word to explain what happened. Basically the priest suspended the people from active participation in the parish.

The bishop does have "faculties" to excommunicate but under strictly limited conditions. (I'm not a canon lawyer.) But I don't believe a priest has such powers.

phoenixwoman said...

Denial of the sacraments is often called excommunication, since the congregant is ex-ed from communion. But if there's a church across the street, he can walk there and, assuming the priest is amiable, take communion without violating anything. But once a bishop excommunicates, as I understand it, it's bind on all priests, whether in the parish or not.