Imagine No Religion (Paperback)
The Autobiography of Blase Bonpane
Red Hen Press, 9781597096706, 240pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
This is the personal story of the life of Blase Bonpane, a vanguard practitioner of liberation theology and a former Maryknoll priest.
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965 many religious people, especially those serving in Latin America, began to understand a spirituality that transcended sectarianism. Having come from an upwardly mobile Italian American family marked by Southern Italian anti-clericalism, Blase was accustomed to hearing his parents express real differences with their institutional church. He went into the seminary despite the avid protests of his parents.
Blase’s odyssey takes us from his high school and college years, through his service in Guatemala during a violent revolution, to his expulsion from that country for “subversion.” After receiving gag order from the Church, which he could not in good conscience accept, Blase met with the editorial board of the Washington Post and released all of the material he had regarding the U.S. military presence in Guatemala. This action led to his separation from the Maryknoll Fathers.
Blase accepted a teaching post at UCLA. While serving in academia, he met the former Maryknoll Sister Theresa Killeen, who had served in Southern Chile. They married in 1970. Their adventures include working directly with Cesar Chavez at his headquarters in La Paz, California, building solidarity with the Central American Revolution, forming the Office of the Americas, working in the forefront of the international movement for justice and peace, and raising two children.
Blase worked on the ground for international peace in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba, Japan and Iraq. He led the U.S. contingent of the International March for Peace in Central America from Panama to Mexico in 1985-1986.
About the Author
Praise For Imagine No Religion: The Autobiography of Blase Bonpane…
“One of the kindest and most generous human beings I have had the privilege to know. In my view he’s truly earned the Nobel Peace Prize. If we had a few more like him, the world would be a far more peaceful place.”
“I first became aware of Blase in the mid-eighties, when he and Theresa were working with the poor and disenfranchised in Central America. He has been a source of inspiration for me ever since. His unrelenting commitment to peace and justice is as extraordinary as his life. He is my personal hero.”
“Blase helps us to understand that the unconventional wisdom of the ages is far more valuable than the conventional hype of the moment.”
“I couldn’t walk in Blase Bonpane’s shoes, they’re too heavy. But I have tried to follow his footsteps which nimbly, deftly, wisely and lovingly try to coax our world into the practice of what it preaches. Not only his feet are prodigious but his hands are the hands of a craftsman, a builder toward those same goals. And to top it off, he’s got the head and heart to guide all four. I have been ennobled by my association with Blase and you will feel similarly having read his autobiography. This is a man for all seasons, all peoples.”
“I am often asked by young people, deeply disturbed by the state of the world, 'What can I do to make this sad world a better place?' An eloquent answer now is, “Read Blase Bonpane’s autobiography. If you can aspire to a fraction of what he has achieved, you will look back on a life well lived.”