Sunday, December 24, 2006

Feliz Navidad

Christmas Eve, and The New York Times' Sunday Magazine reports on the transformation of Catholicism in Los Angeles as worshipers become predominantly Spanish-speaking:

The article notes tensions between Catholics and Spanish-speaking Pentecostal evangelists, Mexican and Central American Catholics over Mexican devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and affluent (largely Anglo) and poor (largely Hispanic) Catholics and between the church hierarchy and priests over liberation theology. I love the quote from a Jesuit priest in East L.A.:
“You don’t evangelize the poor; the poor evangelize you. I learned that as a young priest in Bolivia long ago, and it’s my ongoing experience. The simple truth is that here you’re called to something deeper, more radical, more credible...You’re always standing with the demonized, so that the demonization stops. You’re always with the people on the outer fringes of the circle of compassion, so the circle of compassion can expand. You’re always at the margins, so the margins once and for all disappear. And you’re always with the disposable, so the people stop being disposed of.”

Tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of Jesus, who stood with the marginalized, preached liberation in the coming of God's reign of justice, aroused the anger of the religious and political establishment, was arrested as an enemy of the state, was put to death - and rose again so that sin and evil can never win. A su nombre gloria. Amen.

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