by Mark Chmiel
I came across this excerpt from a 1983 statement from Brazilian Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga in response to a request from the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission on behalf of Salvadoran refugee children. This statement reminds me of the commitment of many friends over the years to the people and children of El Salvador…
Let us save the children of El Salvador, to save our very selves!
The least we can offer is money, publicity, protest, commitment. And urgent prayer. We are not doing the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission a favor. We are paying, late and poorly, a common debt.
Those of us who have the nerve to call ourselves Christians and yet stand by unmoved at this tragedy of Rachel weeping for her children or to simply get off a sporadic prayer, an occasional speech, or an indifferent check, will have no answer on our face when the sovereign judge on that last day with no provision for appeal says to us, “I was a refugee in the flesh of a Salvadoran child (in Honduras, or in Nicaragua, or Belize or Costa Rica, or Panama or Mexico, or in the caves of martyred Indian Guatemala), I was a refugee in the flesh of a Salvadoran child, and you did not take care of me.”
Brothers and sisters of the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission, you can count on me for anything, to the death.