Honduras: They killed our René

René Pinto was murdered on the night of January 20. Pastoral worker in the diocese of Trujillo, he was 32 years old, an outstanding organizer of Committees for Local Development (CODEL) and a co-worker of Peter Marchetti SJ (see HL00303). An armed group was waiting for him near his home and killed him with two rifle shots. What earned their enmity was probably his work to stop foresters from clear-cutting a water-shed that supplies a population of 15,000 down-river. The crime will remain unsolved as long as Honduran legislators and powerful business interests continue to enjoy impunity. With only six years of formal education, René showed enormous wisdom and capacity in the social apostolate. In 1997 he felt the call to full-time ministry in the Ignatian tradition. He accompanied the growth of CODEL in many poor communities following Hurricane Mitch. In his own town, René worked hard to fulfil his family responsibilities within the base Christian community and to win respect for a weekly day of rest. He knew how to integrate his deep personal feelings with his gifts to accompany the people in their suffering and efforts. René?s death leaves a deep hole at the same time as it opens a new chapter in the Church?s prophetic struggle to defend life and overcome impunity. [HL20201]