Sobrino made several addresses in Columbus.
"I feel joy being here with you all. We have to say No to the SOA, but that is not my last word. We also have to say Yes to the love of great people -- the six Jesuit martyrs, their co-workers Julia Elba and Celina, the four churchwomen, Archbishop Romero and all the martyrs.
. . .
"They were always on the side of the oppressed, even when it was dangerous. To have known that great love is to say Yes. Behind the hatred on this planet, there is great love, which makes people work for justice. So the last word is not No but Yes.
. . .
"There is a way out of this mess, a way which is way beyond elections. There have been thousands of elections but the world is still worse. Let's not look for salvation outside the poor.
. . .
"What happens to us when we exclude millions of poor people from existence? The most forgotten crisis in the world is the Congo. Four million people have been killed there in the last few years. This is a failure of humanity. Hunger can be eliminated, but we don't want to do it. Every few seconds a child dies. We should say instead, every few seconds a child is assassinated.
. . .
"We need to remember the martyrs. The martyrs were people of great love and love is a rare commodity in the world. They practiced compassion to the end. We need to thank them, because they are saving us from our total inhumanity."
Hearing his words took me back some twenty-three years, 1985, to El Salvador, where I lived one long summer. We were a small group of U.S. Jesuit scholastics, full of ideals, a little wet behind the ears. The day before we were assigned work at refugee camps in war zones, we sat awestruck before Sobrino as he admonished us. "You will be overwhelmed with sorrow," he said, "but you will learn joy, because the poor will teach you how to be human."
He's been saying it all his life, teaching that the poor can redeem our humanity. If only we defend them, walk with them, share our lives with them, become one with them. They will convert us.
Dear also notes that Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the leading force behind the movement to shut down the SOA, was just excommunicated for his support of the ordination of women.