There’s a song of John McCutcheon, “El Perdon,” in his album “Untold,” which has touched me deeply ever since I first heard it a few years ago.
McCutcheon sings of a soldier sent to kill a priest in the San Juan de Dios hospital who tells them:
Mátame de frente, porque quiero verte, para darte perdon.
“Face me when you kill me, for I want to see you to give you my final perdon.”
I wondered whether this was a true story until I looked up Joan Alinsa who was killed on September 19, 1973 in Santiago, Chile. The Wikipedia article in Spanish is here.
The story is true.
Padre Joan was a Spaniard missionary and worker priest in Santiago, Chile.
He was arrested in the hospital and shot at the Bulnes bridge. According to the report of Nelson Bañados, the 18 year old soldier who killed him, he told them:
“Por favor no me pongas la venda, mátame de frente porque quiero verte para darte el perdón“.
“Please don’t blindfold me, kill me face to face, because I want to see you to forgive you.”
Perhaps in a world where violence and revenge are all too common and people are killing others in so many ways, we need to recall the witness of Padre Joan Alinsa.
There is a very sad follow up to this story. Bañados confessed the killing to a priest and then let his role in the killing be known. He later committed suicide.
Information on the photo:
«Memorial a Joan Alsina 03» de Ciberprofe – Trabajo propio. Disponible bajo la licencia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 vía Wikimedia Commons – here