Monday, December 10, 2012


   Shema yisra’el Adonai ‘elohenu Adonai ‘ehad
   Hear O Israel: the lord is our God, the lord is one          
   (Duet. C.6, V.4)  
   The Vatican II vision of Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI was to facilitate peace through a worldwide Faith community effort (ecumenical) to promote justice.  In the call for the Vatican II Ecumenical Council, John XXIII stated:

“The bloody wars that have followed one on the other in our times, the spiritual ruins caused by many ideologies, and the fruits of so many bitter experiences have not been without useful teachings.  Scientific progress itself, which gave man the possibility of creating catastrophic instruments for his destruction, has raised questions. It has obliged human beings to become thoughtful, more conscious of their own limitations, desirous of peace and attentive to the importance of spiritual values.  And it has accelerated that progress of closer collaboration …”  (John XXIII, “Humanae Salutatis,” (December 25, 1961)

Hence we humbly and ardently call for all men to work along with us in building up a MORE JUST and brotherly city in this world.  We call upon our brothers whom we serve as shepherd, but also upon all our brother Christians, and the rest of men of good will whom God ‘wills that they be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.’”(1Tim 2-4) (Council Fathers, Opening Statement, 10-20-62)


   Vatican II is no longer the vision of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, but the “people of God” continue the struggle for peace and justice.  The Milwaukee New Sanctuary Movement of Voces de la Frontera sponsored a celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Ascension Lutheran Church in early December.  Could such a celebration that would include Latino Catholics and Lutherans remembering the story about Our Lady of Guadalupe been possible before Vatican II?

  Lutheran Pastor Walter Baires introduced the program, a Cap Corps volunteer, Kathleen Shea of Peruvian ancestry, played Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ms. Nikki Meirose played the Franciscan Bishop Zamárraga, and Guadalupe Romero was Juan Diego.  Nancy Flores Lopez, New Sanctuary Coordinator, directed the show.  The program included music by the St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church choir from Lake Geneva and a enthusiastic performance by young women Aztec Dancers.  Former Cap Corps volunteer Amy Tutenberg closed the program with an outstanding rendition of Ave Maria.

   Tamales and champorrado were prepared and sold by the Palermo strikers.  The money taken in from the sale went to the strike fund and amounted to about $250.


   What was the play at Ascension Lutheran all about?  Let us briefly outline the Guadalupe story.  The legend begins with the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531.  This is the time of the Spanish “conquista” of Mexico which included a military and attempted cultural takeover. Tepeyak, a hill overlooking the Mexico City, is cited as the place where the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego.  Tepeyak had been a holy place for the indigenous people long before the conquest.  It was the special place for worship of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin. The Virgin Mary appeared pregnant, “en cinta” with a cord around her waist, a belt or “cinteron,” indicating her pregnancy.  She was luminous with sunlight stars around her and the moon at her feet.  She had a dark complection – an Aztec Pacha Mama – a “diosa.”  
   Malinche, the translator for Hernando Cortez, asked a Franciscan friar:

“But then, who is that lady with the child in her arms whom you place in the temple?”  The friar responded, “She is the mother of Jesus Christ, who came to save us.”  Malinche became aware, “She was a mother!  The mother of them all, and so she had to be the lady Tonantzin.  …It was sort of a nostalgia for the maternal arms, a longing to feel enveloped, embraced, sustained, and protected by her mother, as at one time she must have been; by her grandmother, as she had definitely had been; by Tonantzin, as she hoped she would be and by a universal mother…” (Esquivel, Laura, Malinche, Simon & Schuster Inc. 2006, P.47)        
   The legend recounts that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in 1531 at Tepeyak in Mexico, but the story is much older.  At the time of the Muslim conquest of Spain in the 8th century, a carving of the Blessed Virgin – a black Madonna – supposedly by St. Luke - was buried.  When it was rediscovered near the River Guadalupe in Spain, many years later after the Muslims were pushed out of the region, a shrine was dedicated to the “Virgin of Guadalupe.” Christopher Columbus is said to have visited the Franciscan shrine.

  In 1571 Pope Pius V sent Don Juan of Austria, brother of Phillip II of Spain, into the sea battle of Lepanto against the Muslims with prayers to the Blessed Virgin for victory.  A Genovese admiral placed a picture of the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe in his flagship command post.   The Christians won a bloody battle with a total of 16,000 killed from both sides. Pius V credited the victory of the Christians to the Blessed Virgin. (See Chesterton’s poem, “Lepanto.”)
   Spanish art depicted Mary – the Immaculate Conception, conceived without original sin, similar to the Mexican image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

(Original Sin is a Christian doctrine.)  The painting of Francisco Zurbaran (1598 – 1664) “La Inmaculada Concepción” one hundred years before the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed by Pius IX (1854) provides a link to our faith understanding of the Virgin Mary.  

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Book of Revelation, C.12, v.10)

Martin Luther (1483-1546) thought the Immaculate Conception teaching was erroneous.

   And the Prophet said:

   Behold! a woman of Imran said, “O my Lord! I do dedicate to You what is      in my womb for Your special service.  Accept this of me, for you hear and know all things.”  When she was delivered she said, “I am delivered of a female child!” and Allah knew best what she brought forth.  “And nowise is male like female.  I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the Evil One, the Rejected.”                    (Qur’an 3, 35-37)

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