Blood and Ink

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A Jesuit community's conversion to the poor, and the price they paid.

In November 1989, six members of the Jesuit community of the University of Central America in San Salvador, including the rector, Igancio Ellacuria, were massacred by government troops.  Twenty-five years later, this book provides the definitive account of the path that led to that fateful day, focusing on the Jesuits' prophetic option for the poor,  their role in the renewal of the Salvadoran church and society, and the critical steps that caused them as Archbishop Romero would put it, to "share the same fate as the poor."

Drawing on newly available archival materials and extensive interviews, Robert Lassalle-Klein gives special attention to the theological contribution of Ellacuria and Jon Sobrino, who survived the massacre, and the emergence among the community of a spirituality that recognized the risen Christ in what Ellacuria called "the crucified people of El Salvador."

"Steeped in light and shadow, Blood and Ink tells the passionate story of the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador.  Sweeping in its scope, unsettling in its political and historical implications, and profound in its theological depth, this modern-day parable changes those who encounter it.  Lassalle-Klein provides us with a masterful analysis of these martyrs and a compelling interpretation of why they continue to matter." --Kevin F. Burke, S.J., Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

"In this compelling work of historical and theological scholarship, Lassalle-Klein demonstrates how the ground-breaking ideas of figures like Igancio Ellacuria and Jon Sobrino cannot be understood apart from the community which helped nurture them intellectually and spiritually.  The blood of the UCA martyrs reminds us that, when rooted in Christ's preferential option for the poor, ideas will indeed have consequences." --Roberto S. Goizueta, Boston College

Robert Lassalle-Klein is professor of religious studies and philosophy at Holy Names University in Oakland, California.  He is the editor of Jesus of Galilee: Contextual Christology for the 21st Century, and co-editor (with Kevin Burke) of Love that Produces Hope: The Thought of Ignacio Ellacuria.

Book Details

Blood and Ink
Ignacio Ellacuria, Jon Sobrino, and the Jesuit Martyrs of the University of Central America
Robert Lassalle-Klein
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Blood and Ink Table of Contents 103 Kb
An historical-theological case study of how an ecclesial and educational institution can embody liberation theology's call for the preferential option for the poor.
Well-suited for individual meditation and group study and would be a fruitful text for parish, college, or seminary courses in theology, ethics, and spirituality.
This excellent, painstaking account of an important Christian witness in the twentieth century leaves an indelible impression. Its examination of the actions and ideas of Sobrino and these martyrs shows how and why Christians must take responsibility for history out of faithfulness to Christ.
... an important reference for anyone who wants to study Ignacio Ellacuria, the history of Central American Jesuits, or Salvadorian history in general.
This book presents, at the same time, a thrilling history of people’s lives, and of the relationship between church and politics in El Salvador during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. [The] work constitutes an important reference for anyone who wants to study Ignacio Ellacuría, the history of the Central American Jesuits, or Salvadorian history in general. It may serve as an extensive introduction to anyone new to the facts as well as a profound recounting of the events and the worldviews behind them for experts.
The book's extraordinary depth and detail provide minute puzzle-pieces that document events and atrocities, but they also describe the real-life context in which the Jesuits of UCA taught, analyzed reality, and ministered.
In sum, the book is rich and complex, ambitious in many different lines of argument ... , it has the virtue of bringing together material from diverse sources (some available only in Spanish) and familiarizing the reader with the broad and variegated context for the events of the early morning hours of November 16, 1989. For this, the author deserves our gratitude.
The term martyr is often stretched in our world today, but in the case of these individuals it is clearly accurate. Like Jesus before them and because of the way in which they saw Jesus in the lives of the crucified people around them, they paid the price of challenging entrenched power. Just as with Óscar Romero, one wonders what their futures would have produced had they been allowed to live. And yet one is led toward Tertullian’s conclusion that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.” Their words and their lives are validated in their horrifying conclusion, and they give us hope. Lassalle-Klein’s book enriches our understanding of what we have lost and, despite and through our loss, all that we have been given.
"An unusual and captivating combination of inspiring spirituality and engaging theology. In these pages, one hears and feels the message of the martyrs."
"Ignacio Ellacuria is the proponent of theological reflection carried out in dialogue with historical reality. His approach is grounded in profound commitments to those who suffer and to defending the human dignity of the poor of El Salvador, a country he loved and made his own. Ellacuria's solidarity is sealed with the blood of martyrdom, which magnifies the importance of his preferential option for the poor and places everything he wrote in capital letters. For this reason all who are interested in the work of Ignacio Ellacuria and his companions must read and be grateful for this beautiful and rigorous book given to us by Robert Lassalle-Klein."
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