Fr. Virgilio Elizondo Takes His Own Life

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, Media Archive, Religion, Texas, United States on 2016-03-16 15:25Z by Steven

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo Takes His Own Life

The Rivard Report: Urban. Independent. All About San Antonio.
San Antonio, Texas

Robert Rivard, Director

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, one of San Antonio’s most accomplished and beloved Catholic priests whose work brought him recognition in Latin America and Europe and an esteemed faculty position at the University of Notre Dame, died of a self-inflicted gunshot at his home Monday afternoon, according to sources in the Catholic community.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner ruled Elizondo’s death a suicide on Tuesday.

Friends spoke of being devastated and in disbelief as the news made its way through Elizondo’s large circle in the city. Elizondo, 80, a Westside native and the son of Mexican immigrants, became a beacon for Catholics and non-Catholics inspired by his deep appreciation of mestizo history, culture and spirituality. His own roots gave him a grounded understanding as a theologian of what the poor and oppressed throughout Latin America were experiencing under the rule and repression of military dictatorships in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. For Elizondo, liberation theology that swept the continent in those decades was one and the same with his mestizo-rooted theology…

…He served as rector of San Fernando Cathedral in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was credited with resurrecting the parish community there. His understanding of the power of media led him to do extensive work with the archdiocese’s television station, and his Spanish-language Mass at San Fernando was broadcast each Sunday to more than one million people throughout Latin America. He was a co-founder with then-Archbishop Patrick Flores of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio and a strong advocate for the city and region’s working poor. He was fond of telling stories about his own happy childhood and close-knit family, poor in material goods, rich in spirit and faith.

Elizondo was named secondarily in a May 2015 lawsuit filed by a John Doe in Bexar County that accused Jesus Armando Dominguez, then a student at Assumption Seminary here, of sexually molesting him from 1980-83 while the boy lived at a local orphanage and was mentored by Dominguez. In the lawsuit, the John Doe claims he approached Elizondo to report the molestation, only to be kissed and fondled by him while the two were in a vehicle together. Elizondo vigorously denied the charges in a public statement and in conversations with friends, and said he was prepared to fight the allegation legally…

…Woodward, a Notre dame graduate, was a friend of Elizondo and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, who served as president of Notre Dame from 1952-1987. He said it was a world that welcomed Elizondo. Despite his own humble beginnings, Elizondo learned to speak multiple languages and lectured widely on three continents. He authored numerous books, including “The Future is Mestizo” in 1992; “Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation” in 1997; and “Galilean Journey: The Mexican American Promise” in 2000. His books remain in print, often assigned by theology professors at other major universities…

Read the entire article here.

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The Future is Mestizo: Life Where Cultures Meet, Revised Edition

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-03 05:15Z by Steven

The Future is Mestizo: Life Where Cultures Meet, Revised Edition

University Press of Colorado
136 pages
8.2 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
Paper ISBN:978-0-87081-576-8

Virgilio Elizondo (1935-2016), Professor of Pastoral and Hispanic Theology; Fellow, Institute for Latino Studies and Kellogg Institute
Notre Dame University

Twelve years after it was first published, The Future is Mestizo is now updated and revised with a new foreword, introduction, and epilogue. This book speaks to the largest demographic change in twentieth-century United States history-the Latinization of music, religion, and culture.


  • Foreword by Sandra Cisneros
  • Preface The Great Border
  • Introduction The Future Is Mestizo: We Are the Shades by David Carrasco
  • 1. A Family of Migrants
    • My City
    • My Family
    • My Neighborhood and Parish
  • 2. Who Am I?
    • Moving into a “Foreign Land”
      vAcceptance, Belonging, and Affirmation
    • Experiences of Non-Being
    • Neither/Nor but Something New
  • 3. A Violated People
    • The Masks of Suffering
    • The Eruption
    • The Eruption Continues
    • Going to the Roots
  • 4. Marginality
    • Festive Breakthrough
    • Institutional Barriers
    • Invisible Mechanisms
  • 5. My People Resurrect at Tepeyac
    • The Dawn of a New Day
    • From Death to New Life
    • First “Evange!ium” of the Americas
    • Beginning of the New Race
  • 6. Galilee of Mestizos
    • Is Human Liberation Possible?
    • Conquest or Birth
    • The Unimagined Liberation
    • From Margination to Unity
  • 7. Toward Universal Mestizaje
    • From Unsuspected Limitations to Unsuspected Richness
    • A New Being: Universal and Local
    • Continued Migrations
    • Threshold of a New Humanity
    • The Ultimate Mestizaje
  • Epilogue: A Reflection Twelve Years Later
    • The Negative
    • The Challenge
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Is the Future Mestizo and Mulatto? A Theological-Sociological Investigation into the Racial and Ethnic Future of the Human Person within the U.S.

Posted in Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-03 04:54Z by Steven

Is the Future Mestizo and Mulatto? A Theological-Sociological Investigation into the Racial and Ethnic Future of the Human Person within the U.S.

Zygon Center for Religion and Science
Third Annual Student Symposium on Science and Spirituality
Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Illinois
13 pages

Kevin Patrick Considine
Loyola University, Chicago

My study is a theological investigation into the racial and ethnic future of the human person within a changing racial context. I examine the concept of mestizaje/mulatez, which has its theological roots in the work of Virgilio Elizondo, and perform a mutually critical correlation between it and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s and George Yancey’s sociologies of the changing racial structure. Elizondo is pointing towards God’s creation of an eschatological people of cultural and biological hybridity who embody a new creation that transcends racial categorization and is made incarnate in the person of the Galilean Jesus. At the same time, mestizaje/mulatez contains ambiguity in that it possesses both liberating and oppressive possibilities for the future of humankind and its struggle against racialized suffering. Nevertheless, I contend that mestizaje/mulatez embodies a small sacrament of salvation, a cautious hope, for the redemption of the human community from racial suffering within an emerging multiracial context.

Read the entire paper here.

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Mestizo Democracy: The Politics of Crossing Borders

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-02 16:45Z by Steven

Mestizo Democracy: The Politics of Crossing Borders

Texas A&M University Press
320 pages
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-58544-346-8

John Francis Burke, Professor of Political Science and Chair
University of St. Thomas, Houston

Foreword by Virgilio Elizondo

It can come as no surprise that the ethnic makeup of the American population is rapidly changing. That there are political repercussions from these changes is also self-evident. How the changes can, must, and should alter our very understanding of democracy, though, may not be obvious. Political theorist John Burke addresses these issues by offering a “mestizo” theory of democracy and tracing its implications for public policy.

The challenge before the United States in the coming century, Burke posits, will be to articulate a politics that neither renders cultures utterly autonomous from each other nor culminates in their homogeneous assimilation. Fortuitously or ironically, the way to do this comes from the very culture that is now necessitating the change.

Mestizo is a term from the Mexican socio-political experience. It means “mixture” and implies a particular kind of mixture that has resulted in a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish genes and cultures in Latin America. This mixture is not a “melting pot” experience, where all eventually become assimilated; rather, it is a mixture in which the influences of the different cultures remain identifiable but not static. They all evolve through interaction with the others, and the resulting larger culture also evolves as the parts do. Mestizaje (the collective noun form) is thus process more than condition.

John Burke analyzes both American democratic theory and multiculturalism within political theology to develop a model for cultivating a democratic political community that can deal constructively with its cultural diversity. He applies this new model to a number of important policy issues: official language(s), voting and participation, equal employment opportunity, housing, and free trade. He then presents an intensive case study, based on a parish “multicultural committee” and choir in which he has been a participant, to show how the “engaged dialogue” of mestizaje might work and what pitfalls await it.

Burke concludes that in the United States we are becoming mestizo whether we know it or not and whether we like it or not. By embracing the communitarian but non-assimilationist stance of intentional mestizaje, we can forge a future together that will be not only greater than the sum of its parts but also freer and more just than its past.

John Francis Burke is a professor of political science and chair of the department at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He is an active lay minister in a Houston Catholic parish characterized by diversity. With a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, he brings strong training in western political philosophy and religious studies to his study of mestizo culture in the United States.

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