Salvadoran Martyrs

Saturday’s beatification ceremony in El Salvador (January 22) memorializes the four Salvadoran Martyrs who stood up to overwhelming power in the name of God— to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande and his two lay minister companions, adolescent Nelson Lemus and elder Manuel Solórzano were murdered in a hail of bullets as they drove to join in a novena on 12 March 1977. Franciscan Friar Cosme Spessotto left his native Italy to minister among the poor of rural El Salvador; for his efforts he was murdered on 14 June 1980.

Rutilio Grande coverThose decades witnessed a power struggle (crescendoed by the Salvadoran civil war of the 1980s) between the entrenched powers and the freedom of the “everyman” especially the rural poor campesino to whom these four ministered. At stake was basic human freedom as described by the priest Zechariah as he thanks and praises God: “This was the oath he [YHWH, the God of Israel] swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:73-75)

Perhaps the best known of the four is Blessed Rutilio Grande, often linked with his good friend and protegé—and at the same time, mentor—San Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Lectio Publishing is pleased to announce, simultaneous with Grande’s beatification, the publication of a new book that illuminates the person of Rutilio Grande as seen through his letters, articles, and sermons (as well as folk ballads); and those of close associates, most notable his Monseñor Romero. 

Rutilio Grande, Memory and Legacy of a Jesuit Martyr, is written by Ana María Pineda R.S.M. whose family is related to that of the late martyr. She draws from family resources, reminiscences of contemporaries and students of Grande, and the archives from the University of Central America (UCA) to give an immensely-readable personal and intimate picture of just who this man was.

Notably, this book is a follow-up to her immensely popular Romero & Grande: Companions on the Journey, which explores the relationship between the two close priests in a similarly personal way. To get the full experience that Sister Ana María shares, purchase both titles together (from either page link, for a limited time) and receive a 20% discount.

We join in joyful unison with the people of El Salvador thanking and praising God as they celebrate the lives and deaths of their faithful martyrs this Saturday!

Here Comes the CTSA Conference!

If you plan to attend The 73rd Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America in Indianapolis next week, be sure to look us up. We’ll be showcasing our latest— and our most influential— books that we’ve published in the last five years.

Romero & Grande coverWe do believe that Grace is at Work in the World, and attempt to show this in the titles that we publish. Whether exploring the grace of recent saints—St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) and (soon-to-be Saint) Blessed Oscar Romero—or the impact of Pope Francis, or topical themes of Evangelization or the Creed or Eternal Life, we bring the best of Christianity and Catholicism to parishioners, students, and scholars.

We salute Sr. Ana María Pineda, Oscar Romero scholar and Lectio author, on her recent election to co-lead the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, West Midwest Community. You won’t want to miss hearing Ana María as a panelist discussing the Theological Witness of Oscar Romero on Friday (June 8) 2:30 in the Lincoln Room.

Stop by our book table to say hello!

Does Francis Really Approve of Homosexuality?

Pope FrancisIn May 2018 news headlines around the world went something like this: Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and sexuality does not matter.’ The Pope’s comments were immediately embraced by the LGBT community and downplayed by the Vatican which neither confirmed nor denied the remarks because the Vatican policy is not to comment on the pope’s private conversations. Yet the media raged on and confusion was the word of the day.

We were reminded that Dr. Robert Royal wrote the Foreword to Eduardo Echeverria’s book Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II, published by us almost exactly 3 years earlier in March, 2015. It bears repeating today. Here’s Dr. Royal’s opening paragraph…

“Of the making of books there is no end, as was already evident millennia ago and is even more so today. Given the sheer tidal wave of texts of all sorts amid which we live today, most current books need to offer some justification—if not an outright apology—for why they were written. This very valuable volume is not one of them. Shortly after the worldwide enthusiasm that met the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy, with the name Pope Francis, there followed what can only be called an equally global confusion about various things that he has said and done. Non-Catholics and even many Catholics believe he is a pope of “rupture,” one about to jettison the demanding Catholic moral tradition, especially on sexual matters. Others see him as a figure of mercy and compassion who is perhaps artless, at times, in his spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks, but deeply committed to the traditional doctrines. Papa Bergoglio himself has expressed surprise on several occasions that people are confused by what he’s said, done, and written—pointing to what he thinks is a clear record. But people are confused”

The Foreword goes on to point out that Professor Echeverria’s “careful study of the pope’s record and insights” could not be more welcome, and reminds us of the Pope’s own words after his notorious—and misunderstood—remarks: “Who am I to judge?”

“My attitude toward the world should be fundamentally the same as toward my own sins, toward the disordered and sinful roots in myself: keen awareness and aversion! From this attitude alone springs the desire for conversion. [This], in turn, over time, forges in us the faculty that is so solidly Christian: the capacity to judge. The “yes, yes… no, no” [Matt 5:37] that Jesus teaches us implies a spiritual maturity that rescues us from the superficiality of the foolish heart. A Christian needs to know what can be accepted and what must be condemned [1 Thess 5:21-22]. We cannot sit down and “dialogue” with the enemy of our salvation: we need to meet him head on, ready to combat his every intention. [Emphasis added.]”

cover: Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II

Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II

This “essential book” offers a deep glimpse into Francis’s firmness along with his tenderness and is recommended in order to fully understand him.

“Eduardo Echeverria, one of the liveliest and most insightful thinkers practicing the ancient craft of theology in the United States today, sheds new light on the Catholic Church and Pope Francis at this challenging moment in history.” —George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

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