Prof. Leo Guardado grew up in a rural mountain town in northern El Salvador before fleeing to Los Angeles when he was nine. After High school in LA and college in the bay area of California, he became a Lasallian Volunteer in Brooklyn, NY where he served as campus minister at Bishop Loughlin HS. An interest in monastic life took him to live in a Trappist monastery in Northern California before completing an MTS in historical christianity at the University of Notre Dame. A series of pastoral commitments led him to work in Tucson, Arizona with churches, dioceses, and NGOs focused on addressing the needs of persons migrating through the desert wilderness and attempting to survive in the US. The experience in the borderlands was a catalyst for pursing his PhD at the University of Notre Dame in a joint program between the theology department and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His ongoing research on human displacement and its challenge to the church and its theology is informed by the multidisciplinary lenses necessary for addressing the critical issues of our time. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in Theology at Fordham University.
The social construction of the criminal other has long served as a justification for subjugation. Pope Francis has stated that the people of God can smell holiness, and perhaps there is also a greater need for the olfactory discernment of evil in our midst. Despite the risk of too literal an interpretation of this metaphor, deeper reflection is warranted of the ways in which evil must be resisted.