View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sr. Dorothy Stang Remembered

This Wednesday, HBO2 is going to broadcast a documentary about the murder of Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, on February 12, 2005, in Brazil.

Sister Dorothy, 73, had been working for the rights of rural workers, and for preserving the rain forest in Brazil. She was opposed by wealthy landowners whom she apparently annoyed enough that they hired two gunmen to kill her.

In the documentary, They Killed Sister Dorothy, a defense lawyer for one of the two ranchers accused to ordering her death says, "She irritated a lot of people. In this region, if you irritate people, you don't live long."

A Dayton, Ohio, native, Sister Dorothy knew she was in danger, but she said, “I don’t want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the environment.”

There have been so many Catholic martyrs in recent years - men and women who have died for trying to proclaim the Gospel through their actions and words, including fighting for human rights and human dignity.

As Pope Benedict said in his current visit to Africa: “When God’s word, a word meant to build up individuals, communities and the whole human family, is neglected, and when God’s law is 'ridiculed, despised, laughed at,' the result can only be destruction and injustice: the abasement of our common humanity and the betrayal of our vocation to be sons and daughters of a merciful Father, brothers and sisters of his beloved Son."

He went on to say we need God and his commandments, “not as a burden, but as a source of freedom: the freedom to become men and women of wisdom, teachers of justice and peace, people who believe in others and seek their authentic good.”

“God created us to live in the light, and to be light for the world around us!"

I don't get HBO2, so I'll have to wait to see it. But I will pray for her and her killers. And I will pray for all the other good men and women working to spread the faith and for basic human rights, even at the risk of their own lives.


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