The Center for Intercultural Formation, Cuernavaca, Mexico, its Reports (1962-1967) and Illich's Critical Understanding of Mission in Latin America

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Bruno-Jofré, Rosa
Zaldívar, Jon Igelmo
Alliance for Progress , Center for Intercultural Formation , Centro de Investigaciones Culturales , Community Worker , Missionary Formation , Missioner , Vatican II
This paper examines the Reports of the Center for Intercultural Formation (CIF), which were produced in Cuernavaca, Mexico, between 1962-1967 by the Centro de Investigaciones Culturales (Center for Cultural Research) (CIC), and supported since 1963 by the CentroIntercultural de Documentación (Center for Intercultural Documentation) (CIDOC) (an offshoot of CIC). The network is placed within the historicalconjuncture of the early 1960s and the alignment of the Vatican with the Alliance for Progress and its anti-communist developmentalist community projects. The core of the paper centers in the ‘illocutionary force’ (Quentin Skinner) behind Illich’s responses to John XXIII’s call to congregations and lay Catholics for a renewed mission in Latin America. It addresses Illich’s resignification of the understanding of mission and missioner rooted in the Gospel, the notion of incarnation in the culture rather than missioners being agents of their culture, and missionary “poverty” as a virtue of the community worker. Illich’s radicalization of his critical discourse led to a confrontation with the Vatican in 1967 and 1968 after he published “The Seamy Side of Charity” and “The Vanishing Clergyman” in the last year, 1967, of the CIF Report. The conflict with the Vatican signaled Illich’s turn to educational, health and other issues moving away from a critique of the institutionalized Catholic Church.