Salvation of the whole person – in the face of massacres

On November 12, 1991, over 250 people were massacred at the Santa Cruz cemetery, Dili, East Timor, by Indonesian troops. They were, for the most part, supporters of independence for East Timor.

A few years later many people were killed by the occupying forces from Indonesia. One of the forces that sought justice was the Catholic Church and especially the bishop of Dili Carlos Filipe Ximenes, S.D.B. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. On receiving the prize he said:

“As a member of the Church, I take upon myself the mission of enlightening and denouncing all human situations which are in disagreement with the Christian concept and contrary to the teaching of the church concerning all mankind..

“The Catholic bishop is a pastor of a part of God’s people. Such mission is spiritual. Such mission is incumbent upon him ally as a dispenser of spiritual resources for the salvation of persons and consolidating them in faith in Jesus Christ.

“But mankind is not limited to a spiritual dimension; one should be saved as a whole, human and spiritual. In this aspect, anyone shall never be indifferent when a people’s possibilities for human realization, in all dimensions, are not respected.”

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