Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Alumnus honored for his struggle for human rights and social justice

Angelicum alumnus Bishop José Raúl Vera López, OP was honored by the Dominican Bayamón Central University in Puerto Rico during their 2013 graduation ceremony with the doctorate honoris causa in humanities for his struggle for human rights and social justice.  Bishop Vera is a Mexican friar of the Dominican Order and since 2000 bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico. He obtained his licentiate summa cum laude  from the Angelicum in theology before his ordination to the priesthood by Pope Paul VI on 29 June 1975.

Bishop Vera was born on June 21, 1945 in Acámbaro, Mexico. In 1968 he started his religious training in the novitiate of the Dominican Order in the Central Mexican city of León after studying chemistry at the Universidad Autónoma de México. Subsequently he went to study philosophy in Mexico City and theology in Bologna, Italy. He finally advanced summa cum laude to the licentiate in theology at the Angelicum just before his ordination on 29 June 1975 by Pope Paul VI. He held several clerical posts, was appointed a bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad Altamirano in 1987, coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas in 1995 under the human rights activist Bishop Samuel Ruiz, and finally bishop of the Diocese of Saltillo in 1999.

Next to his clerical career, Vera López is an avowed advocate for human rights and social justice. With the risk for his own safety he expressed his views against abuse of power, corruption, absence of the rule of law and violations of human rights. Furthermore he stated the fact that, although Mexico is not considered a poor country, around half of its 110 million people live below the poverty line.