Letter from the Diocese of San Cristobal Regarding Imprisonment of Jesuit Priests and Church in Mexico's Support for Indigenous Peoples, May 23, 1997
May 23, 1997
Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrick
Archbishop of Newark
Chairman, USCC Committee on International Policy
On receiving a copy of the letters that you sent to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, to Archbishop Sergio Obeso, and to Don Jesús Silva Herzog, we have testimony once again that ecclesial communion is no empty phrase but a reality that gives life, especially in times of sorrow.
As you are well aware, since 1994 our bishop, Mons. Samuel Ruíz Garcia, has been offering the pastoral service of mediation in support of peace between the Mexican government and the indigenous who make up the EZLN. This work has caused enormous sufferings for our diocesan Church: calumnies in the mass media, the closing of churches in some towns, verbal and physical aggression against pastoral workers and the lay workers who offer volunteer service in our missions.
The deportation of Fathers Loren Riebe, Jorge Barón and Rodolfo Izal, plus the obstacles that prevented Fathers Pablo Nadolny and Albert Mahoney from returning to the country, were a great suffering for our diocese. Not only are we joined by the priestly fraternity and personal friendship, but we are united in the desire to bring the message of salvation to the smallest and most excluded. In all these cases, we have never sought special treatment because of our clerical status; we have only asked that justice be done, but we have not always been listened to despite having presented sufficient proofs of the justice of our demands.
The recent matter of the unjust imprisonment of the Jesuit fathers Jerónimo Hernández and Gonzalo Rosas was another moment in which we felt our faith tested and our will for service to the country put to the test. Your solidarity and fraternal closeness with the Mexican Episcopal Conference, without whose involvement a greater injustice would have been committed, is now crowned with the action that you have taken in support of brothers.
Although human borders and historic languages separate us, we are united in the faith in the Risen Lord who has already triumphed over death and has opened to us the way to the true life.
Thank you, and may God bless you.
Fr. Felipe de Jesús Toussaint Loers