Garret Keizer at Lapham's Quarterly:
Nineteen hundred and sixty-six years after the birth of Jesus Christ and one year prior to the execution of Che Guevara, a thirty-seven-year-old Colombian Catholic priest and sociologist named Camilo Torres Restrepo was killed while taking part in a botched ambush of government troops. He had joined a band of guerrillas only a few months before. “I have taken off my cassock,” he said, “to be a truer priest.”
Born into an upper-class secular family—his mother was furious about his decision to be ordained—Torres served as a college chaplain, a parish priest, and a founding leader of the opposition United Front before conflict with his ecclesiastical superiors and a growing conviction that, in his country at least, “the Catholic who is not a revolutionary is living in mortal sin” led him to apply for release from his priesthood. Shortly after laicization was granted, he left for the jungle.