Ignacio Ellacuría

Ignacio Ellacuría (Portugalete, Biscay, Spain, November 9, 1930 – San Salvador, November 16, 1989) was a Spanish-Salvadoran Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian who did important work as a professor and rector at the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" (UCA), a Jesuit university in El Salvador founded in 1965. He and several other Jesuits and two others were assassinated by Salvadoran soldiers in the closing years of the Salvadoran Civil War. His work was defining for the shape UCA took in its first years of existence and the years to come. Ellacuría was also responsible for the development of formation programs for priests in the Jesuit Central American province.

Ellacuría's academic work was an important contribution to "Liberation Philosophy". This school of philosophy stems from the work of Augusto Salazar Bondy and Leopoldo Zea. It focuses on liberating the oppressed in order "to reach the fullness of humanity". Ellacuría was also a strong supporter and contributor to Liberation Theology.

The political implications of Ellacuría's commitment to his ideas met strong opposition from the conservative religious and political forces in El Salvador. This opposition led to Ellacuría's murder by the Salvadoran army in 1989 at his residence in UCA along with five other fellow Jesuit priests and two employees. Their murder marked a turning point in the Salvadoran civil war (see History of El Salvador). On the one hand, it increased international pressures on the Salvadoran government to sign peace agreements with the guerrilla organisation FMLN. On the other, it helped make Ellacuría's ideas (until then known only in Latin America and Spain) become known worldwide.

There are different types of Latin American liberation philosophy. Ellacuría's thought represents one of the currents within this philosophical tradition.

Ellacuría joined the Jesuits in 1947 and was commissioned to the Central American republic of El Salvador in 1948. He lived and worked there for much of his life until his bloody assassination in 1989. In 1958, Ellacuría studied theology with Vatican II theologian Karl Rahner in Innsbruck, Austria. He also lived in Ecuador and Spain. Provided by Wikipedia
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