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Statements issued by the Board of Directors of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States (ACHTUS)

June 9, 2017

In keeping with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the leadership of Pope Francis, and the mission and vision of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS), the Board of Directors issues this public position expressing our deep regret and disappointment in the United States of America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord:

Given that President Donald Trump’s June 1, 2017 decision runs directly counter to the vision for care of creation presented by Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, among other ecclesial documents,* we stand with the international community of scientists, academics, and citizens of the world, who recognize the impact of climate change on all of creation, particularly the world’s most vulnerable citizens. As such, we commit to stand with global and local leaders who act in a manner that promote environmental stewardship that meets or surpasses the previously held commitment of the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement. Furthermore, we commit to supporting critical, theological reflections that advance ecological consciousness and the common good.

* Pacem in Terris (1963), n. 2–5; Octogesima Adveniens (1971), n. 21. See also Catholic Climate Covenant at www.catholicclimatecovenant.org


February 2, 2017

The Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS) is an association of scholars dedicated to promoting research and critical theological reflection within the context of the U.S. Hispanic experience. Our work puts us directly in contact with the people who come to the United States in search of better opportunities and/or escaping persecution, war, environmental catastrophe, or famine. The experiences and perspectives of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean are at the heart of our work. This also makes us particularly attuned to their plight for better treatment, their quest for asylum via our shores and national borders, and their yearning to contribute to the common good of this new place they call home. As Christians, however, our very faith and sacred texts privilege care for immigrants and refugees as a sign of faithfulness and respect for the inherent dignity of every human life (for instance, see Lev. 19:10 or Matt. 25:35-40).

For these reasons, the ACHTUS Board of Directors expresses its ongoing solidarity with immigrants and refugees. In turn, solidarity demands that we speak clearly against the two Executive Orders signed by President Trump on January 25 and January 27, 2017, targeting immigration to the U.S. in many of its forms. The Executive Orders on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and on Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States run counter to the values of our faith, and negatively impact some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Our ongoing scholarly reflection highlights the gifts that immigrants and refugees bring to this nation, in the form of strong community values, admirable work ethic, deep spiritual roots and practices, rich cultural heritage, and unceasing resilience in the face of adversity and challenges. We are also aware that sometimes immigrants’ experiences on their journeys to the U.S. and once on U.S. soil can be fraught with severe physical, mental, and spiritual challenges, and often violence. Among our membership are advocates and practitioners who seek to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees while on their journeys toward greater human dignity.

Embracing the inalienable human dignity of every person, we support immigrants and refugees regardless of their citizenship status, and seek to contribute to their well being and full participation in society and the economy. Pope Francis, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and other Catholic bodies and authorities have strongly denounced the way these two Executive Orders on immigration negatively impact the integrity of families and entire communities by increasing the fear of deportation and separation of families, increasing detention, keeping persons who have travelled abroad from returning to their jobs and their loved ones, hindering support of innocent refugees fleeing violence, preventing many students from fulfilling their goals of a higher education, and the targeting of immigrants through the publication of a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants (regardless of legal status or conviction in a court of law). In addition, the proposal to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border irresponsibly allocates precious financial and human resources in a venture that has proven to bear no impact on border security.

The ACHTUS Board of Directors will continue to put the journeys and welfare of immigrants and refugees at the core of the work we do as an Academy of scholars and as Christians. In solidarity with our migrant family globally, we categorically oppose policies that threaten the human dignity of any group.


EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY

JUBILEE FOR THE ROMAN CURIA

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica
Monday, 22 February 2016

The liturgical feast of the Chair of St Peter finds us gathered to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy as the community of service of the Roman Curia, the Governorate and the institutions connected with the Holy See. We have passed through the Holy Door and we have come to the Tomb of the Apostle Peter in order to make our profession of faith. Today the Word of God illuminates our gestures in a special way.

At this moment, the Lord repeats his question to each of us: “who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15). A clear and direct question, which one cannot avoid or remain neutral to, nor can one remand it or delegate the response to someone else. In this question there is nothing inquisitional, but rather, it is full of love! The love of our One Master, who today calls us to renew our faith in him, recognizing him as the Son of God and Lord of our life. The first one called to renew his profession of faith is the Successor of Peter, who carries the responsibility to strengthen his brothers (cf. Lk 22:32).

Let us allow grace to shape our hearts anew in order to believe, and to open our mouths in order to profess the faith and obtain salvation (cf. Rom 10:10). Thus, let us make our own the words of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). May our thought and our gaze be fixed on Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end of all actions of the Church. He is the foundation and no one may lay a different one (cf. 1 Cor 3:11). He is the “rock” upon which we must build. St Augustine recalls this with expressive words, when he writes that even if shaken and upset over historical events, the Church “will not fall, because she is founded on the rock, from which Peter’s name derives. It is not the rock that draws its name from Peter, but Peter who draws it from the rock; just as it is not the name Christ which derives from Christian, but the name Christian which derives from Christ…. The rock is Christ, upon which foundation Peter too was edified” (In Joh 124, 5: PL 35, 1972).

From this profession of faith derives for each of us the task of corresponding to the call of God. Pastors, first of all, are asked to have as a model God himself, who takes care of his flock. The prophet Ezekiel described God’s way of acting: He goes in search of the lost sheep, guides the stray back to the fold and cares for the sick (cf. 34:16). This behaviour is a sign of a love that knows no bounds. It is a faithful, constant, unconditional devotion, so that his mercy may reach all of the weakest. However, we must not forget that Ezekiel’s prophecy originates from the fact that Israel lacked shepherds. Thus it is good for us too, called to be Pastors in the Church, to allow the face of God the Good Shepherd to enlighten us, purify us, transform us and restore us fully renewed to our mission. That even in our work environments, we may feel, cultivate and practice a strong pastoral sense, especially toward the people we meet every day. May no one feel overlooked or mistreated, but may everyone experience, here first of all, the nurturing care of the Good Shepherd.

We are called to be God’s coworkers in an undertaking so basic and unique as that of witnessing by our existence to the strength of transforming grace and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. Let us allow the Lord to free us from all temptation that separates us from what is essential in our mission, and let us rediscover the beauty of professing faith in the Lord Jesus. Faithfulness to the ministry combines well with the mercy that we want to make felt. In Sacred Scripture, after all, faithfulness and mercy are an inseparable binomial. Where there is one, there the other is also found, and it is precisely in their reciprocity and complementarity that the very presence of the Good Shepherd can be seen. The faithfulness that is asked of us is that of acting according to the heart of Christ. As we heard from the words of the Apostle Peter, we must tend to the flock with a “willing spirit” and become an “example” for all. In this way, “when the chief Shepherd is manifested” you may receive “the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4).

 


 

STATEMENT BY THE ACHTUS BOARD ON TEXAS v. UNITED STATES (#15-40238) [ To be argued before the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Friday, Apr. 17, 2015]

Date: April 13, 2015

On Behalf of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States:

As we affirmed in our June 7, 2006 public statement on Just, Comprehensive, and Humane Immigration Reform: “We, the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACTHUS), stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, the undocumented immigrants in this nation. In faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ and the social teachings of the Catholic Church, we affirm the dignity of all human beings, regardless of national origin, and we call for just, comprehensive, and humane immigration reform” (http://www.achtus.us/news/).

ACHTUS is an association of scholars dedicated to promoting research and critical theological reflection within the context of the U.S. Catholic Hispanic experience. One component of ACHTUS’s mission is to accompany the Hispanic communities of the United States. In keeping with this mission, we pray that the injunction that halted the implementation of President Obama’s Executive Action programs for deportation relief is lifted, and that our political leaders work to pass just and humane comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

— Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS)

Unanimously Affirmed

Jorge A. Aquino, President
Nancy Pineda-Madrid, President Elect
Elsie Miranda, Vice President
Hosffman Ospino, Secretary
Neomi DeAnda, Treasurer
Michael E. Lee, Past President
Maria Teresa Dávila, Member At-Large
Peter Anthony Mena, Member At-Large
Gilberto Ruiz, Member At-Large
Chris Tirres, Member At-Large
O. Ernesto Valiente, Member At-Large
Jeremy V. Cruz, Associate Member Representative


For more information contact:

Jorge Aquino (University of San Francisco)
Email: jaaquino@usfca.edu

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Friday, November 21, 2014

To the ACHTUS Community and the Readership of the JHLT:

I am writing to report on a decision the ACHTUS Board has taken to ensure the future viability and development of our flagship, the Journal of Hispanic / Latino Theology.

As you know, the JHLT has an exceedingly proud history. As a print journal from 1993 to 2003, the JHLT was the go-to publication for outstanding, peer-reviewed, Latin@-Catholic scholarship. However, profound changes in the economics of academic publishing prompted the JHLT to cease publication in print. In 2006, after a three-year hiatus, the journal relaunched in an online format and has since published eight more volumes of reputable, peer-reviewed content. JHLT’s archives and its bibliography pages (latinobibliography.org) are an invaluable research trove.

At the same time, it has become clear that the economic model under which the JHLT has been publishing for the last several years needs attention from the ACHTUS Board. The online JHLT has been operating at a modest loss, which will become a serious issue in the next few years if allowed to continue unchecked. The JHLT site also needs some technical updating and design work to take advantage of recent advances in online scholarly publishing and design. Both the JHLT and ACHTUS can also benefit from a more deliberate integration of their respective web apparatuses. Finally, a more intentional JHLT marketing strategy, supported by ACHTUS, could maximize the revenue possibilities of the journal’s online platform.

Moved by these challenges, I appointed a committee last August to begin a “visioning” process to consider these and related issues — in anticipation of future recruitment for editors, and so that ACHTUS could generally be more intentional in its support for the journal. This decision was guided by a desire to defend the editorial integrity and independence of the JHLT, while also considering specific ways to formalize the JHLT’s commitment to its economic and online development.

This process was just beginning when JHLT Editor Gilberto Cavazos-González, OFM, was transferred to Rome by his order and resigned his editorship, effective October 17, 2014. His departure was sudden and unexpected, and did not give the ACHTUS Board the opportunity to make plans for an editorial transition. This presented us with a serious challenge. It is clear that the Board must become more knowledgeable and engaged in the economic life of the JHLT if it is to survive in the long term. It is equally clear that the discernment and visioning process we have begun must precede — and guide — the recruitment and appointment of the next JHLT editor.

To that end, the ACHTUS Board this week voted to continue to maintain the JHLT and the latinotheology.org site, but to suspend new editorial work on the JHLT, pending the work of one or more Board committees that will undertake several tasks toward assessing the JHLT and its web platform, including:

1. Publishing a number of book reviews that had been submitted to the JHLT, edited to completion, but have not yet been published.

2. Fixing flaws in the paywall, broken links, and other technical issues.

3. Finish our review of the finances and balance sheet of the JHLT to make a judgment on how (and where) to proceed with its online format.

4. Review and price our hosting agreement with MetaVisual for latinotheology.org, and explore / price alternative hosting platforms, perhaps in one of our Catholic universities.

5. Develop a vision statement for the JHLT, and a model draft contract, that would be used as the basis for recruitment and negotiations with prospective JHLT editor candidates.

6. Recruit a new editor.

It is conceivable that much of this work could be completed by the time of next summer’s ACHTUS Colloquium. Our hope is that once a new editor is in place, the JHLT will relaunch and resume its legacy as an outstanding peer-reviewed journal.

Feel free to contact me (jaaquino@usfca.edu) with questions you may have about the JHLT.

-Jorge A. Aquino
President, ACHTUS

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Easter Sunday
April 12 2009
 
Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States
 

STATEMENT SUPPORTING THE PASSAGE OF THE DREAM ACT

We, the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS), reaffirming our 2006 public stance on Just, Comprehensive, and Humane Immigration Reform, stand in solidarity with our alternately documented immigrant youth who, because of their lack of legal status, live in the shadows with limited access to the educational options necessary for a secure future.

As an association of scholars, whose members are primarily teachers, researchers, administrators and graduate students in colleges, universities and seminaries across the United States and Puerto Rico, we are particularly committed to supporting Hispanics engaged in their academic studies.  With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops we urge passage of S. 729 and H.R. 1751, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).
In keeping with our mission to accompany nuestras comunidades in the United States, and faithful to the social teachings of our Church, we are compelled to advocate for just means that provide educational opportunities for our children to participate in our shared destinies as a nation and as a Church.

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June 7 2006
San Antonio, TXAcademy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States
STATEMENT ON JUST, COMPREHENSIVE, AND HUMANE IMMIGRATION REFORM

We, the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACTHUS), stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, the undocumented immigrants in this nation. In faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ and the social teachings of the Catholic Church, we affirm the dignity of all human beings, regardless of national origin, and we call for just, comprehensive, and humane immigration reform.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has clearly stated that our current immigration system is broken and perpetuates the unnecessary suffering of migrants. We further recognize that this situation is driven by structural, economic disparities. These, in turn, breed various forms of racial, gender, and environmental violence.

We oppose the criminalization of undocumented immigrants and of those who serve them, the construction of border walls, the militarization of the border, and the conditions that result in the deaths of so many immigrants.

Through our scholarship and our ministries, we commit ourselves to dispel falsehoods about immigration, to protect civil rights, to promote justice, and to make known the gifts, talents, and contributions of immigrants to our society. Failing to stand for just and comprehensive immigration reform impoverishes us all.
May our common journey with our immigrant brothers and sisters bring us all to share equally at the table of God’s justice.