CHILE: Christmas Declaration of the Movimiento Camilo Torres (1967)

[This text was originally published in the Argentine Catholic magazine Cristianismo y Revolución‘s 6th issue. Many members of the Movimiento Camilo Torres eventually joined the PS, MIR (Revolutionary Left Movement) and MAPU (Popular Unitary Action Movement–a pro-Allende faction that split off from the Christian Democratic Party) later on. According to Gerhard Drekonja, “at the first international meeting of the Movimiento Camilo Torres in Montevideo, early in 1968, the slogan was ‘Basta de diálogo, ahora acción común con el marxismo!‘.” This slogan can be translated as “Enough of dialogue, now common action with Marxism!”]

Members of the MOVIMIENTO CAMILO TORRES and any priests who identify themselves with the thought and action of Father Camilo distributed in the churches of Santiago—during the Mass of Christmas Eve—the manifesto that we reproduce. In it, they reaffirm their commitment with the exploited and their solidarity with the people who struggle for their liberation. [Italics mine.]

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 
[1] JOHN 3:17

“For this reason the Revolution is not only permissible but obligatory for Christians who see in it the one effective and complete way to create love for all.” 
Father CAMILO TORRES [Mensaje a los cristianos, 1965])

Guided by the post-conciliar spirit of dialogue which demands of all who constitute the Church, laity and priests, a profound reflection on the grave tensions of our time and motivated by this Paschal celebration, we have decided to deliver to our brothers and to all men of good will our thoughts. 

In this new Easter, while joy fills the mansions of the rich, of those who are insensitive to the Gospel Message, they oppress and exploit their brothers; millions of men in our homeland, in [Latin] America, and in the Third World, will not have bread nor a toy to offer to their children. They are the wretched of the earth, exploited by the “international imperialism of money” of which Paul VI speaks (Encyclical “Populorum Progressio”). This humanity is the one who dies by assassination and torture in Vietnam, in the struggle of the blacks for their dignity, in the guerrilla fronts of the Third World, and in our own homeland, in the North American ore of El Salvador, and in the latest National Strike of the CUT [Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Chile]. From their graves they call us to continue the long struggle for Dignity and Justice. All these crimes against Man are made in the name of Western and Christian civilization. 

Under the sign and testimony of the Colombian priest Camilo Torres, killed in guerrilla action, thousands of Christians from this continent, laity and priests immersed in history, faithful to the conciliar spirit, to the thought of our unforgotten Pope John and of his Holiness Paul VI, have decided to reaffirm on this Easter our commitment, even to the end, with the exploited, our active solidarity with the people who struggle with arms in hand to liberate themselves of foreign and national oppressors. We want to rediscover Christ in the heart of the people, we want to see the Church and all our brothers engaged in the struggle for the redemption of our exploited neighbor. There will only be “peace on Earth”, fraternity, and “love of one another” when there no longer exists in our homeland and in the Third World oppression from oligarchic minorities aided by US imperialism.



Santiago, December 25, 1967


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s