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Monsignor Ivan Illich's Critique of the Institutional Church, 1960–1966

  • ROSA BRUNO-JOFRÉ (a1) and JON IGELMO ZALDÍVAR (a2)

Abstract

This paper examines the process of radicalisation of Monsignor Ivan Illich during the 1960s, having as its setting Cuernavaca, Mexico – a creative, fluid space where Illich was in contact with Bishop Méndez Arceo, Erich Fromm and Gregorio Lemercier. Illich's writings and the reports from the centres led by him are placed here in context, and it is argued that his encounter with psychoanalysis in Cuernavaca shaped his critique of the Church as an institution. The radicalisation of his concept of the Church reached a high point with the publication of ‘The seamy side of charity’ and ‘The vanishing clergyman’, both in 1967.

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References

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1 The CIC counterpart in Brazil, located first in Anápolis (1961–2) and later in Petrópolis (1962–6), was the Centro de Formaçao Intercultural (Centre of Intercultural Formation/CENFI). In 1963 the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (Centre for Intercultural Documentation/CIDOC) was started within CIC. In 1966 the network of centres moved from Hotel Chulavista to Rancho Tetela, on the outskirts of Cuernavaca. CIDOC became the only functioning centre, but it did not offer residence to missioners.

2 C. Taylor, ‘Foreword’, to David Cayley and Ivan Illich (eds), The rivers north of the future: the testament of Ivan Illich as told to David Cayley. Toronto 2005, p. ix.

3 Attendance information for the CENFI in Petrópolis is not available.

4 C. Taylor, A secular age, Cambridge, Ma 2007, 740.

5 I. Illich, ‘The seamy side of charity’, America, 21 Jan. 1967, 88–91.

6 This is quoted from M. I. Bochenski, Transforming faith communities: a comparative study of radical Christianity in sixteenth-century Anabaptism and late twentieth-century Latin America, Eugene, Or 2013, 36

7 Skinner, Q. R. D., ‘Meaning and understanding in the history of ideas’, History and Theory vii (1969), 353 at p. 35.

8 J. Tully, Meaning and context: Quentin Skinner and his critics, Cambridge 1988, 10.

9 Skinner, ‘Meaning and understanding’, 46.

10 P. Bourdieu, Language and symbolic power, ed. J. B. Thompson, trans. G. Raymond and M. Adamson, Cambridge, Ma, 1991.

11 D. Cayley, Ivan Illich in conversation, Toronto 1992, 150.

12 J. Mettepenningen, Nouvelle Théologie, new theology: inheritor of modernism, precursor of Vatican II, New York 2010, 26.

13 See J. Fitzpatrick, The stranger is our own: reflections on the journey of Puerto Rican migrants, Kansas City, Mo 1996, 22.

14 J. P. Fitzpatrick, ‘What is he getting at?’, America, 25 Mar. 1967, 444.

15 M. J. O'Meagher, ‘Catholicism, reform and development in Latin America, 1959–67’, unpubl. PhD diss. Duke 1994, 372.

16 Ibid. 377.

17 The first team included Encarnación Armas, Gerald Morris, William McKeon, Betsie Hollants, John Vogel and Feodora Stancioff: CIF, The CIF session June 18th to October 9th, 1961, folder 370.196 C397, Daniel Cosío Villegas Library, Colegio de México, Mexico City.

18 S. Fitzpatrick-Behrens, The Maryknoll Catholic mission in Peru, 1943–1989, Notre Dame, In 2012, 152–3.

19 Löwy, M. and Pompan, C., ‘Marxism and Christianity in Latin America’, Latin American Perspectives xx (1993), 2842.

20 Ibid.

21 Inter-American Economic and Social Council (1961), ‘The charter of Punta Del Este: Alliance for Progress: official documents’, appendix to J. F. Taffet, Foreign aid as foreign policy: the Alliance for Progress in Latin America, New York 2007, 205–23.

22 Berger, M. T., ‘“Toward our common American destiny”: hemispheric history and pan-American politics in the twentieth century’, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research viii (2002), 5788; Taffet, Foreign aid as foreign policy; M. E. McCammon, Kennedy and Latin America, Lanham, Md–New York–London 1994.

23 A. Casaroli, ‘Appeal of the Pontifical Commission to North American superiors’, in G. M. Costello (ed.), Mission to Latin America: the successes and failures of a twentieth-century crusade, Maryknoll, NY 1979, appendix at pp. 273–81.

24 J. Comblin, ‘La Iglesia latinaomericana desde el Vaticano II’, in La Tercera Confrencia del CELAM (i) (Documentación Politica vii), Montreal 1978, 119–24, reproduced from Contacto X xv (Feb. 1978).

25 Garneau, J. F., ‘The first inter-American episcopal conference, November 2–4, 1959: Canada and the United States called to the rescue of Latin America’, Catholic Historical Review lxxxvii (2001), 662–87.

26 See B. López (comp.), Cuernavaca: fuentes para el estudio de una diócesis (CIDOC dossier xxxi), ii, Cuernavaca 1968, 4/468–5/16; Turrent, M. C., ‘El sentido de los murales de la Catedral de Cuernavaca’, Inventio iii (2006), 510.

27 L. J. Friedman, The lives of Erich Fromm: love's prophet, New York 2013, 294.

28 CIDOC Informa was published between April 1964 and June 1970. Initially it reproduced the same material as that in CIF Reports but in their original language. It also published documents that were used in the preparation of the CIF Reports.

29 E. Fromm, The heart of man: its genius for good and evil, New York 1964, 14–15.

30 Ibid. 15.

31 See L. Gutiérrez Quintanilla, Los volcanes de Cuernavaca: Sergio Méndez Arceo, Gregorio Lemecier, Ivan Illich, Cuernavaca 2007, 64.

32 Ibid. 66.

33 J. A. Litmanovich, ‘Las operaciones psicoanalíticas gestadas al interior del monasterio Benedictino de Ahuacatlitlán, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico (1961–1964)’, unpubl. PhD diss. Universidad Iberoamericana de Mexico 2008.

34 Gutiérrez Quintanilla, Los volcanes de Cuernavaca, 66.

35 See H. Giniger, ‘A monastery in Mexico closed in dispute over psychoanalysis’, New York Times, 6 Sept. 1967, 15.

36 S. Méndez Arceo, ‘Intervención conciliar, algunas observaciones al Esquema xiii’, in López, Fuentes para el estudio de una diócesis, i, 4/154–8. The full text of Méndez Arceo's presentation is reproduced in Latin as it was written.

37 ‘Méndez Arceo habla al fin’, ibid. 4/188–95 at p. 193. The article was reproduced from SIEMPRE, Cuernavaca (27 Mar. 1966), 8, 9. See ‘Mexican bishop endorses Freud: ecumenical council is told Catholic Church should back psychoanalysis’, New York Times, 29 Sept. 1965, 1, column 4.

38 See Luis Bravo Valdivieso (Santiago, Chile) to Monseñor Sergio Méndez Arceo (Vatican Council, Rome), 12 Nov. 1965, in López, Fuentes para el estudio de una diócesis, ii, 4/273–5.

39 C. Smith, The emergence of liberation theology, Chicago 1991, 120.

40 R. du Plessix Gray, Divine disobedience: profiles in Catholic radicalism, New York 1970, 259–60.

41 ‘Cuernavaca was the original home of the mariachi mass’: MacKin, R. S., ‘Becoming the red bishop of Cuernavaca: rethinking Gill's religious competition model’, Sociology of Religion lxiv (Winter 2003), 499514 at p. 506.

42 The CIF Reports were compiled by CIDOC in the collection CIDOC Cuaderno and published in 1969 in six volumes (xxxvi–xli).

43 See, for example, I. Illich, ‘A letter to Mary’, CIFR i (Apr. 1962), repr. in CIDOC, CIF Reports, I: April 1962–March 1963 (CIDOC Cuaderno xxxvi, 1969), 1/51–2.

44 P. V. Brison, ‘Notes from the editor’, CIFR i (Jan. 1963), repr. ibid. 8/5.

45 I. Illich, ‘A note from the publisher’, CIFR ii (Mar. 1964), repr. in CIDOC, CIF Reports, II: April 1963–March 1964 (CIDOC Cuaderno xxxvii, 1969), 10/3–10/4.

46 Ortega worked on editions of collections published by CIDOC between 1963 and 1976. Valentina Borreman applied for the position at CIDOC by responding to an advertisement in New York. She assumed the direction of CIDOC without previous experience in a documentation centre. Neither one of them was an active member of the Church.

47 Oficio Catequístico Arquidiocesano, ‘Informe que su director, Mons. Francisco Aguilera envía al delegado de la sede apostólica sobre el curso de verano que se impartió del 11 julio–19 agosto 1966’, in T. Ocampo (comp.), Mexico ‘entredicho’ del Vaticano al CIDOC, 1966–9: documentos y racciones de prensa (CIDOC dossier xxxvii, 1969), 4/2–27 at 4/13.

48 Illich met L. Hoinacki in 1960 in Puerto Rico at the Institute of Intercultural Communication. At the time Hoinacki was a Dominican priest working with Puerto Ricans who wished to emigrate to New York. In 1963 Illich approached the Superior of the Dominicans in Rome to have Hoinacki work in Cuernavaca. After three years in Cuernavaca, Hoinacki decided to abandon the priesthood and get married: R. Whittaker, ‘Interview: Lee Hoinacki: conscience and courage’, Works & Conversations (http://www.conversations.org/story.php?sid=5), accessed 11 Nov. 2015.

49 Ocampo, Mexico ‘entredicho’ del Vaticano, 4/12.

50 Ibid. 4/13.

51 Ibid. 4/12.

52 Ibid. 4/18.

53 Ibid. 4/21.

54 Ibid. 4/22.

55 Fromm, The heart of man.

56 See idem, Escape from freedom, New York 1941.

57 G. Lemercier, ‘A Benedictine monastery and psychoanalysis’, CIFR iv (1965), repr. in CIDOC, CIF Reports, IC: January–December 1965 (CIDOC Cuaderno, xxxix, 1970), 10/24.

58 Lemercier, ‘A Benedictine monastery’, 19/23–10/24.

59 Illich, ‘The seamy side of charity’, 88.

60 Ibid. 90.

61 Ibid.

62 Ibid.

63 Ibid.

64 Ibid.

65 E. Fromm, ‘Introduction’, to I. Illich, Celebration of awareness, New York 1967, p. vii.

66 Ibid. pp. vii–viii.

67 R. Poblete, ‘Religious imperialism in Latin America?’, America, 4 Mar. 1967, 317.

68 Ibid.

69 Illich, ‘The seamy side of charity’, 90.

70 Fitzpatrick, ‘What is he getting at?’, 444.

71 Ibid.

72 Ibid. 445.

73 Illich, ‘The seamy side of charity’, 90.

74 Idem, ‘The vanishing clergyman’, in Celebration of awareness, New York 1967, 59.

75 Ibid. 76.

76 S. Méndez Arceo, ‘Carta del obispo de Cuernavaca a Monseñor Ivan D. Illich’, SIEMPRE, 16 July 1967, repr. in López, Fuentes para el estudio de una diócesis, i, 4/10.

77 Grabowski, S., ‘The Center of Intercultural Formation at Cuernavaca’, Occasional Bulletin from the Missionary Research Library xvii (1966), 15 at p. 1.

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Monsignor Ivan Illich's Critique of the Institutional Church, 1960–1966

  • ROSA BRUNO-JOFRÉ (a1) and JON IGELMO ZALDÍVAR (a2)

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