Guatemala

Image via RNS/Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

An American missionary priest, killed in Guatemala in 1981, has moved a step closer to being named a Catholic saint, after Pope Francis declared him the first-ever American martyr.

The Rev. Stanley Rother, a priest from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, served for nearly 15 years in Guatemala before being shot dead, during the country’s bloody civil war that divided the country from 1960 to 1996.

Rachel Malinowski 04-25-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

I don’t practice the corporal works of mercy.

The realization left me stunned. As I sat in a cluster of retreatants I thought about what that meant. Sure, I donate money to various charities, participate in food drives, and donate clothes that I no longer need, but do not practice the corporal works of mercy — I have other people or institutions do it for me.

Theo Rigby 01-12-2016
The Mejia family

The Mejia family. Via Sin Pais.

On the day Sam and Elida we to be deported, I arrived at the airport, with the entire Mejia family, and was witness to one of the most intensely sad events I’ve ever seen: a mother and father saying goodbye to their children, not knowing when they would see them again. As I drove home from the airport that night, I thought to myself, if every politician, faith-leader, and citizen in the U.S. could have met the Mejia family, and then seen the family ripped apart, the U.S. would not be deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year. The raids that are descending on immigrant communities right now, targeting Central American families who recently crossed the border escaping extreme violence, would most likely not be happening. The de-humanizing term ‘illegal alien’ would not proliferate across our airwaves.

Lani Prunés 04-07-2015

An interactive map showing Canadian mining locations. 

Emilie Teresa Smith 04-01-2015

Fifty years of bloody conflict, economic greed, and environmental devastation. 

Emilie Teresa Smith 04-01-2015

Canadians are supposed to be the good guys in the story. Well, not anymore. 

Emilie Teresa Smith 01-31-2014

Gold and silver mines in Guatemala are wreaking havoc on local communities. But the people, using nonviolent Christian action, are fighting back.

The Editors 01-29-2014

In La Puya, Guatemala, Christian community members are nonviolently standing up against gold and silver mining companies.

Alfonso Wieland 05-14-2013
Photo from humanrightsfilmfestival / Flickr.com.

Photo from humanrightsfilmfestival / Flickr.com.

Sunday afternoon, March 28, 1982. If you were an evangelical Christian living in Guatemala, watching TV, your heart would have been beating faster and tears of joy may have flowed down your cheeks.

A man was speaking so thoughtfully, with the Bible in hand. He was teaching the audience, “If there is no peace within the family, there would be no peace in the world. If we want peace, we need at first to be at peace in our hearts.” He went on, “Guatemala is the chosen people of the New Testament.”

That 55-year-old man was Guatemalan General Efrain Rios Montt, pastor of the Iglesia  Verbo (Church of the Word), who had recently become president of Guatemala through a military coup.

On May 10, 2013, a Guatemalan court sentenced Rios Montt to 80 years in prison after finding him responsible for deliberate killings by the armed forces of at least 1,771 members of the Maya Ixil population during his 1982-83 rule.

Michelle Garcia 09-01-2012

The Street Psalms community pursues theology from below—and that changes everything about how "missionary" work is done.

Emilie Teresa Smith 06-01-2012

In Guatemala, 44,000 people were "disappeared" during decades of war. Now workers there seek to resurrect a buried history and human dignity.

Duane Shank 01-26-2012

During the Central American wars of the 1980s, nearly 200,000 Guatemalans were killed or disappeared. The bloodiest period came during the presidential term of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, when entire villages were burned and civilians, primarily indigenous people, were massacred.

Rios Montt was a graduate of the U.S. School of the Americas and received millions of dollars in military aid from the U.S. He was also an evangelical/Pentecostal minister and a darling of the Religious Right.

Jennifer Grant 09-19-2011

218097_19360164080_551149080_224360_2855_nCould my mission really be confined to seeking the best for the children to whom I gave birth? Or, as a Christian, should I define "family" more broadly? I'd see images of women and children suffering around the world, and those puzzling verses returned to my mind. Maybe, instead of obsessing over the happiness of my babies, I should stick my head out of the window, so to speak, look around, and ask, "Who is my family?"

It didn't feel right to simply shrug my shoulders and blithely accept my good fortune as compared to that of people born into extreme poverty. I'd buy my kids their new school clothes and shoes and then think of mothers who did not have the resources to provide their children with even one meal a day. I'd wonder: what's the connection between us? Does the fact that $10 malaria nets in African countries save whole families have anything to do with my family buying a new flat-screen TV? Should it? Is there any connection between me, a suburban, middle class mom, and women around the world?

Jeannie Choi 02-18-2011

Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

Chris Hoke 04-01-2009

Inside Guatemala's gang prisons.

Diana Ortiz 01-01-2003

Sister Dianna Ortiz was kidnapped and tortured by Guatemalan security forces in November 1989 while serving as a missionary there.

Jennifer K. Harbury 03-01-2002
How a CIA cover-up sealed a husband's fate.

Jennifer Harbury's eight-year fight for justice in the death of her husband, Guatemalan resistance leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, has ended in victory.

Ryan Beiler 11-01-2000

Despite presidential apologies and lip service to human rights, the Clinton administration continues to offer aid to the Guatemalan and Colombian militaries...

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