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Father Virgilio Elizondo, key figure in Hispanic thought, dead at 80

March 15, 2016

Father Virgilio Elizondo, a Texas native who became a leading figure in Hispanic Catholic thought, died on March 14, apparently of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Father Elizondo, the son of Mexican immigrants, had devoted himself to the study of Latino spirituality. His influence was confirmed by an appointment as professor of theology at Notre Dame, and by the same university’s decision to award him the Laetare medal—Notre Dame’s highest award for service to the Church and society—in 1997.

Father Elizondo’s legacy was marred by an accusation of sexual abuse, filed against him last year, in reference to an incident that allegedly occurred thirty years ago. Father Elizondo was horrified by the charge, and a longtime aide said that he “died of a broken heart.”


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