News Detail
Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, also known as Padre Melo
“Every night when I return home after my radio show, I breathe a sigh of relief that I have survived another day.”
— Padre Melo
Jesuits in Canada Call on Prime Minister Trudeau to Protect Honduran Activists

August 31, 2016 — The Jesuit superiors in Canada are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government to urge Honduran authorities to assure the security of human rights and environmental activists in Honduras.

The letter to Trudeau from Jesuit Fathers Jean-Marc Biron and Peter Bisson, provincials of the French Canada and English Canada Province Jesuits respectively, was written in French. The Jesuits decided to write the letter after a recent visit to Canada by Honduran Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, a human rights activist in his country known as Padre Melo.

While in Canada, Padre Melo was interviewed by the Toronto Star, which wrote an article that said, “Father Melo lives every day as though it is his last. He knows assassins are out to kill him. And, eventually, they may succeed.”

The Jesuits provincials said they were extremely concerned for his safety, as well as the safety of Honduran activists.

“Given that Canada signed a free-trade agreement with Honduras in 2014, and that 90% of the foreign investors in the Honduran mining sector are Canadian, we ask you not to ignore the flagrant violations of human rights in this Central American country,” the Jesuits provincials wrote. “The Canadian government is in a position to urge the Honduran authorities to assure the security of Fr. Melo, as well as that of all those who work for the protection of human rights and the environment in Honduras.”

There have been more than 100 documented cases of assassinations in Honduras in the past five years. Most recently, Berta Cáceres, an indigenous leader in Honduras, was murdered in March. “Being a woman with the highest international recognition among the social and popular movements in Honduras, her assassination shows and lays bare the helplessness of people and organizations fighting for human rights and the defense of the natural resources and against the sale of our national sovereignty,” said Padre Melo, shortly after she was killed.

The letter to Trudeau also said it is urgent that Canada “impose on its mining industry a rigorous responsibility for the respect of human rights and environmental norms. This would imply, among other things, an end to the forced displacement of local indigenous communities — an issue that would match your government’s sensitivity to First Nations peoples.”

The letter implored Trudeau to “do everything possible to assure the safety of our colleague, as well as that of all Honduran citizens engaged, as he is, in the fight for justice and respect for the integrity of creation.”

Earlier this month, Padre Melo told the Toronto Star, “I cannot walk in the streets or ride my bike … I am the government’s No. 1 enemy.

“Every night when I return home after my radio show, I breathe a sigh of relief that I have survived another day.”

Read the letter in EnglishFrench or Spanish. [Sources: French Canada Jesuits, Toronto Star]





Recent News

June 21, 2018 — Today is the feast day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian Jesuit known for his courage in serving the sick and his dedication to the education of young students.

June 18, 2018 — Nearly 600 U.S. Catholic organizations declared that they are “still in” to support the Paris Agreement.

June 14, 2018 — Fr. Martin will speak on welcoming LGBT Catholics at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which runs from August 21-26.

June 13, 2018 — Jesuit organizations, including the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, are "appalled at this ill-conceived decision."

June 7, 2018 — Advice on prayer from Frs. Gillick and Carlson, longtime Creighton University priests who direct silent retreats.

(Washington, D.C., June 21, 2018) – Loyola University Chicago’s Center for the Human Rights of Children, the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, Kino Border Initiative, the Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities, and 11 Jesuit law schools strongly oppose the so-called “Zero Tolerance” policy of the Trump Administration, which reinforces the criminalization of migration and has already separated thousands of migrant families.

May 31, 2018 — The Jesuits of Canada and the U.S. join our brother Jesuits and the Nicaraguan bishops in denouncing recent violence in Nicaragua.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 6/25/18

America 6/11/18

America 5/28/18



Manresa Jesuit Retreat House
Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., offers retreatants a respite from the city on its 37–acre campus with almost 50,000 trees.