Prudence & Parrhesia

A library I once spent time in
Is named in honor of Pope Pius XII

He was nothing if not prudent
And prudence is a virtue much of the time

In 1948
When talking with members of the Dominican order

Albert Camus admitted that the anti-Fascist resistance
Had waited for a clear voice to speak out of Rome

They told him that the Pope did speak out
But Camus said it was in the language of the encyclicals

And what the world needed was people
Who could speak out clearly and pay up personally

Decades later
There was a bishop who was considered prudent

Which may have been a major reason
He was elevated to the rank of archbishop

But through his direct contact with the suffering
Of the farmers, unionists, pastoral agents, and priests-

Disappearance
Torture

Murder
State-sponsored terrorism

That might have impressed
Even hardened Nazis-

Oscar Romero found his tongue
He spoke with parrhesia

Which could be translated
By the insult leveled

At Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi
Who was imprisoned by Sadat:

“Uncalled for boldness”
The oppression of the poor summoned Romero’s boldness

He wouldn’t shut up
He protected the victims

He got specific
Since the Devil is in the details

The oligarchy felt betrayed
When the nobodies became somebodies to Romero

He spoke out clearly
He paid up personally

He was murdered
He lives on

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