Letter of February 1st 1999 from Jacques Gaillot
|New Year Mail||Past letters:|
New Year Mail
Among mail received for the New Year wishes, one mail specially moved me: from a friend, a priest who left France thirty years ago to serve the Church in Chili. He was put in jail under Pinochet's ruling then expelled from that country. Later he went to Peru among Quechua Indians in the Andean who live at an altitude of between 12000-15000 feet. He is lucky enough to be with a Christian community which has chosen to help the poor. If one asks: is the theology of liberation dangerous? The answer is ambiguous: yes it is dangerous for the rich and beneficial for the poor, as the Magnificat or the Luke 's Beatitudes.
This priest experiences the devastation brought on by the neoliberal economy coming in Latin America. He told me: "I am testifying and I am suffering from it, one thousand miners are working in tin and copper mines. Some miners have to work 12 hours a day, sometimes 15 hours including transportation, 7 days a week, without social benefit, without unions, without security for their job and for a miserable salary. I am denouncing that this injustice is inhuman and for that reason anti-Christian. The workers cannot help themselves: if they try they will be made redundant immediately. I am forbidden to enter the mine campus by the employer, the miners argue with him and demand that I can visit them... but what can I do? Never since the time in Pinochet jail have I felt so deprived and helpless against injustice and human suffering...."
" I am left with the faith, sometimes I doubt. I believe, I want to believe, I force myself to believe that God and the poor will have the final word... They are also some signs of hope: the Quechua Christians feel more and more at home in the Church; responsible laymen take in charge their Christian community, preside over the liturgy, organize help between the poor. A news man was asking to a theologian friend, Gustavo Gutierrez: How to you see the future of the theology of liberation? his answer was: I don't bother much for its future, what's bother me is the future of the poor in the world."
Thank you Francisco for your testimony , a murmur of the Gospel. I thank
God for your minister among the Indians. As long as people like you will
exist, hope will be possible. Your commitment is a call.