Santa Clara University


Jon Sobrino, S.J.

Jon Sobrino
November 5, 2009
Mission Church, 7:30 p.m.

How can we truly help the poor and oppressed? What is “Liberation Theology”? What can we learn from the martyrs of El Salvador?

It is almost 20 years to the day since Jesuit priest Jon Sobrino narrowly escaped being murdered by a government death squad alongside eight others, and he asks now: What have we learned since this atrocity?

Sobrino will speak on the lessons of martyrs around the globe—including those who actively chose their roles and those that became martyrs unwillingly. A leading liberation theologian, Sobrino has devoted his life to helping the poor and oppressed.

“We have learned that the world’s poor are practically of no consequence to anyone—not to the people who live in abundance nor to the people who have any kind of power. The First World is not interested in the Third World. As history shows, it is interested only in ways to despoil the Third World in order to increase its own abundance,” he has written.

Born into a Basque family in Barcelona, Sobrino entered the Jesuit Order when he was 18, and, in the following year (1958) he was sent to El Salvador. He was teaching at the Jesuit-run University of Central America in San Salvador, but away from his residence, when his housemates were murdered for their opposition to the country’s civil war. Six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her 15-year-old daughter were killed.

Since then, Sobrino has continued to espouse global social justice. He is the author of numerous books, including Hope and Solidarity: Jon Sobrino’s Challenge to Christian Theology (2008), No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (2008), Christ the Liberator (1999) and Jesus the Liberator (1991).

His work continues to spark controversy. In 2007, Sobrino was admonished by the Vatican and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said that his writings “contain propositions which are either erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm to the faithful.”

Sobrino answered, “to endorse these procedures would not in any way help the church of Jesus to present the face of God to our world.”

Please join us on campus at the Mission Church for a conversation on martyrdom, liberation theology, and the legacy of El Salvador’s martyrs.

Sobrino's appearance is cosponsored by the President's Office and the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. His lecture is part of a larger program on The UCA Martyrs of El Salvador, Jesuit Education, and Santa Clara University: Commemorating Their Legacy and Celebrating Our Future sponsored by the Ignatian Center. For more on this program, visit