Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Santa Rosa Diocesan Stations 2012 - translations

Last Friday, March 30, 2012, more than 3000 people came to Santa Rosa de Copán to walk the Way of the Cross with Christ and other members of the diocese. The texts, which can be found in Spanish here, relate the Stations to the lives of the people here in Honduras. Photos from this year's Way of the Cross and from other years can be found here. A short blog entry with some photos can be found here.

I have translated part of these stations and offer them for your reflection.

THEME: Corruption and impunity
Pilate recognizes that Jesus is innocent and that they are handing him over because of envy. He even tries to not condemn him to death. But, because he fears that they will inform Cesar in Roma and so that he doesn’t find himself out of sorts with him, he ends up condemning Jesus to death; he thus is an accomplice with the corruption of the Jewish leaders who prefer their personal benefit to the justice to which Jesus has the right. This criminal act is unpunished since no one can demand accountability form the powerful; they can buy or crush anyone who dares to do so.

 In all the many acts of corruption and impunity which happen each day in our country Jesus continues to be condemned to death; as it is said on the Gospel, “What you do to any of the little ones, that you do to me.”

THEME: the marginalized and excluded
The excluded and estranged of our society, according to our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, are, among many others,  the elderly, domestic workers, migrants, children and adults in the streets, those ills with HIV or AIDS, sex workers, the mentally ill, and women abandoned and exploited…

THEME: Alcoholism and drug addiction
Alcoholism and drug addiction constitute a problematic illness for public health. The risks and damages associated with them vary with the intensity of the addiction. Furthermore, one must take into account the personal variables as well as the degree of motivation, understanding, or experience in the consumption of alcohol or drugs and the specific properties of the alcohol or dug as well as the influence of adulterating elements.
What makes alcoholism or drug addiction a destructive addiction is that they harm oneself and others…. Alcoholism and drug addiction are not moral defects but illnesses which can be controlled.

THEME: Migration and the disintegration of the family
The phenomenon of migration has become the principal factor of  family disintegration in the emigrants’ countries, even more than divorce and other forms of family breakdown. The statistics tell us that in countries like Mexico, about 400,000 emigrate illegally to the US.
One of the major dramas that those who have to abandon where they live confront is that refugees are seen ever increasingly as “ a threat and a political nuisance.”
Experts consider that the increase in recent years of the flow of illegal immigrants to the US, over all of Mexican children and women, has contributed to the deepening of the disintegration of families which remain divided due to economic needs.
Jorge Bustamante, special recorder of the UN for the rights of refugees, has pointed out that “unfortunately the effect of migration to the US in regard to the integrity of the family is basically negative.”
• For all those separated because of immigration, those who left and those who have stayed behind, that the Lord with his grace may keep them always united.
•For those who manage great amounts of capital which they have gained from unjust businesses, that they recognize and repent of their crimes.
•For all those thrown about and beaten on the journey as victims of this reality, that they encounter generous and charitable persons and can receive help.

THEME: The environment
The reality:
Honduras has a richness of ecological diversity. There are 7,524 species of vascular plants, 718 species of birds, 228 species of mammals, 211 species of reptiles, 2500 species of insects; 53% of the land of Honduras is forested with broadleaf trees, conifers, and mangroves.
The biodiversity and the forests are under extreme pressure due to the deforestation by inappropriate management of the land and water. Each year 80,00 to 100,000 hectares are lost due to illegal lumbering, fires, and the enlargement of farming land.
The privatization of sources of water, the concessions of rivers, business of selling this vital liquid together with laws promote this business, the absence of a law agreed upon by the people to regulate mining and environmental contamination, and the deterioration of forest resources, the increase of private telephone companies which by installing their antennas in communities affect the environment and health….
Biblical text: Romans 8, 19-23
The message of the bible and the teaching of the church give us a reference whereby we can evaluate the problems which are posed between the human person and the environment. Initially one finds the pressure to exercise an absolute domination over things by humans, humans indifferent to the consideration of the moral order. The tendency toward a thoughtless exploitation of the resources of creation is a long historical and cultural process because of the powerful means of communication which promote the technological civilization. At times it appears that the environmental equilibrium has reached a critical point.
A conception has been spread and prevails that is deductive and understand the natural world in a mechanistic mode and understands development in a consumer mode;  these generate alienation among human beings.
The relation which the human person has with God determines the relation of the person with others and with the environment. In particular Benedictine and Franciscan spiritualities have testified this type of kinship of the human person with the environment, a kinship nourished by that spirituality, witnessing an attitude of respect for the reality of the whole world.

THEME: Builders of the new society
Data of the Reality
The State of Honduras is falling into an ungovernability; it is seen in the weakness of the state’s institutions which seem about to collapse; no one knows who is governing and the acts of corruption and the killings are each day more scandalous. In this agony of ungovernability there continue to be the politics of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund trying to privatize the public services, such as education and health, and selling to the highest bidder the natural resources which belong to our people and thus condemning our future generations to backwardness and underdevelopment.
Biblical text: Isaiah 52: 13-15; 53: 1-3.
Sisters and brothers, Christ, the Head [of the Body/the Church] continues living his passion in His Body which is His people and the suffering [the passion] of the people is a continuation of the suffering [the passion] of Christ, because that which is done to one of his little brothers and sisters, that we do to Him (Matthew 25: 40).
In Honduras all of us need to need to approach Christ, especially the lay people who can assume public responsibilities to show that one can cleanse the image of a country subjected to international disgrace and to the lack of confidence of a people who do not see clearly a better world with those who govern us and who work in public offices. On the contrary, one can see that the acts of corruption are increasing, as well as the killing, the drug-trafficking, robberies, illiteracy and all the anti-values which disfigure the human person, the family, and society.
Nevertheless we congratulate the good politicians, public functionaries, doctors, teachers, farmers, housewives, and all those who by their work cleanse the face of Christ in the face of the people.
Today we recognize the face – disfigured, spit upon, slapped, in so many victims by the political, economic, and social powers who cause the repression, tortures, rapes, and organized terrorism. We also recognize you in the Christians who suffer martyrdom by some repressive or authoritarian regimes who deny some religious persons to fulfill their prophetic duties.

THEME: Drug-trafficking
Facts of the reality:
At the end of December last year, the Washington Post  published a report about Honduras based in Honduran information sources, and stated that “the major quantity of cocaine of the world is transported through Honduras, between 25 and 30 tons a year.” That has become one of the reasons that the percentages of crime have rocketed upward with 82.2 deaths for every 100,000 habitants, a statistic which puts us in the first place in the world in homicides per capita. 
Jesus commits us as disciples to be caretakers and builders of life, in a very special way in the middle of this spiral of violence, killings, and the commercialization of vice which dominates us and makes us nibble the dust of hopelessness, frustration, and despair.
If we are the Body of Christ and He is the head, all this violence and the domination of drug-trafficking and paid-killers which has us thrown down to the ground and this is for Jesus a suffering and a humiliation worse than his second fall on the way to Calvary.
But what Jesus feels and wants in the face of this suffering has to be for us like an order to fulfill, even if the consequence is to have to bear the cross. Christ became flesh in order that “we might have life and an abundant life, a life with quality.” Therefore, we have to reflect of these situations, seek solutions which will liberate us, to arrive at conclusions that we can make real and act accordingly.

THEME: The communications media

THEME: Repression and violence against women
Starting from the reality:
In the last few months there has been an alarming increase in the killings of women in the west of Honduras, including students, workers, campesinas and professionals belonging to different fields of social life. This reality of victims has unleashed within families a climate of insecurity, which has an influence in the practice of the church, schools, nongovernmental organizations, city halls, hospitals, local boards, health centers, cooperatives, and businesses.
Economic political, cultural, and religious inequalities close off the opportunities of the integral development of the woman within the family and in public life. This is a situation which places the women in a state of inferiority to men, which is one of the principle generating causes of violence against women.
Biblical text: Mark 14, 3-11.
Facing this reality, we see the attitude of Jesus Christ:
In the text we have heard, Jesus Christ appears very close to a woman, breaking the discrimination against women of his time.
For Jesus Christ, women are worth the same as men; he values the role of women in the bible: Ruth, Esther, Judith, Mary mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and so on and overcame the cultural model which marginalize the woman. Therefore, this demands a change of mentality in those who consider the woman inferior to man, justifying and legitimating violence, denying them the active participation in the great decisions of life.
In prayer we commit ourselves:
•A change of mentality of parents in regard to the education of their daughters, providing whole hearted support so they can attain their educational goals, in short, medium or long range.
•Change of attitudes of those who exercise civil and church power to provide women with opportunities in public offices.
•To deepen in the church base communities the role of women in society.
•To integrate in pastoral councils – in the diocese, the deaneries, parishes, zones, sectors and communities – the significant presence of the women.
•To organize and integrate in materials for religious education the practice of Jesus Christ, overcoming this every attitude which leads to minimize the role of women.

THEME: Privatization
Today Jesus is still being striped of his garments. He is stripped when his right to dignity is taken away and is crushed underfoot in a society without control, of consumerism, of materialism, of hedonism, where the powerful sees the poor human being as a bank which has to be exploited.
We live in a world divided in classes where life, the most sacred of the human being, is being stripped away. The root of human rights ought to be sought in the dignity which belongs to every human being. The natural foundation seems more firm if, in the light of faith, one  considers that human dignity, after having been given by God and then profoundly damaged by sin, was assumed and redeemed by Jesus Christ.
The ultimate source of human rights is not found in the mere will of human beings, in the reality of the State or in the public authorities, but it is found in the very person and in God the Creator. These rights are universal and inviolable and cannot be renounced for any reason.…
The shadowy situation of human rights in Honduras, where violence has become a daily discourse, tends to worsen in a drastic way without there being presented real solutions to the existing economic and political crisis in our country.
The sneaky process of privatization which has come to us instigated by the Honduran right and private businesses has been denounced by organizations of high school students who have been repressed by agents of the “Ministry of Security.”
Institutions such as Hondutel [the national telephone company], ENEE [the national electric company], Honducor [the national postal service], Cohdefor and many more were started as sources of income for the State. They are institutions whose activities add up to large amounts of money and their income then serve to buy medicine and machines for hospitals and health centers, to construct schools, high schools, and pay for teachers, as well as for subsidizing some products and services such as transportation, for rural electrification and other means of social compensation for Hondurans in general. Instead of the government strengthening these institutions, it rather seeks concessions and to privatize them in order to favor the excessive ambitions of the private business sector of the country who only seek to have them. Businessmen and international credit organisms are in opposition to the government continuing to manage the great sums of money that state enterprises generate….
No to privatization.           

THEME: Politics and participative democracy
Christ continues being crucified through corruption at all levels, domestic violence within the households, organized crime, drug-trafficking, common crime, political divisions, the lack of social justice, migration, lack of sources of work, polarization in society, problems of education, the grabbing of lands by a few who have provoked the death of campesinos, unemployment, lack of dialogue, of listening and reflection in society. All this obstructs us from advancing on the path of a participative and representative democracy. These realities are the sharp nails for the people who continue being crucified by the injustices and the mistaken decisions of the politicians (Amos 5: 10-13)
Jesus goes on the way to Calvary, carrying the cross, with the mission of redeeming us. Today the people carries a heavy cross on the way to their own death and destruction, so beaten down that they cannot distinguish the Him who wishes to save them because they are exhausted facing the powerful who take them to the ballot boxes every four years, to kneel before their bosses. If the people continue to be continually deceived with political campaigns, if they take advantage of the sentiments of the people and by means of the songs by which they make the poor people dance to the sound of music and impose on them the candidate who conveniently favors their interests.

THEME: Abortion
Commentary from the perspective of faith:
We Christians ought to follow the example of our fathers and mothers in faith and the witnesses of life of caring for infants: like Abraham, Sarah, Zachariah, and Elizabeth, Saint Joseph the just man with the Virgin Mary who help us care for the life which comes from God.
We trust that as God confided to the gift of life he may also help us to be protector of the gift of God and the family in which the father and mother bear and guard the divine project.

13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross
THEME: Martyrs of faith and commitment with the people
Thus as Jesus was taken down from the cross, forgotten and buried as someone with no dignity, the people continues to be buried in the persons who work with good will without any encouragement by the state.
Today our people continues to be forgotten, buried in misery and poverty because of the corruption which is lived in our country.
The majority of those who die for the sake of the Gospel, by denouncing the social injustice which our people lives, are innocent who coming from a quiet life take on a solidarity with others. Not concerned with destroying the poor in order to gain power as n the times of Jesus, “they play with the life of the poor in misery no only for money but for a par of sandals”. (Amos 8:6-7)
Commentary from the perspective of faith:
Faith makes us move to meet forward to an encounter with the Lord and a  commitment to the people. Therefore, we are called to serve others in accord with our calling, to do it with the heart like the faith of Zaccheus  who recognized the Lord as his savior. (Luke 19: 1-9)

THEME: A people terrorized and silenced
Facts of the reality
In 2011 Honduras was considered as one of the most violent countries in Latin America. The people die sometimes in front of their terrorized family members who choose by their silence to save their lives, since they are threatened if they speak the truth.
Biblical reading: Mark 15: 46-47
Jesus was placed in the tomb which was in a deep rock. In the eyes of his opponents this appear to be their triumph. In the scene, the only participants were Joseph of Arimathea who took him down  from the cross, Mary Magdalen, and Mary his mother. Where are the disciples? Where are his followers? They have scattered fearing that they might suffer the same fate as their master. he had finished his mission, shared as a human; he had humbled himself (Philippians 2,8). He here encountered the most terrible humiliation. This provokes in his apostles and followers a terrible fear. Jesus Christ found himself alone. The people who in some other time had proclaimed him king had been dispersed and even had turned their backs against him.
Jesus Christ continues dying and we continue abandoning him for fear. Fear has invaded us and made us lose the meaning of life.
We commit ourselves to speak the truth even risking our lives. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” says the Lord. Archbishop [Oscar] Romero gave this witness, affirming: “I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me I will rise in the Salvadoran people.” “Do not fear,” [Pope] John Paul II tells us. Let us ask our Lord Jesus Christ for the courage to defend life.

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