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Father Carmen Amador

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THE DAY BEFORE FATHER CARMEN AMADOR PERFORMED the autopsy on Santiago Nasar, he gave a sermon at the local church. As he watched the townspeople mourn in the pews, he delivered a sermon on fate. “I didn’t even think about the Santiago Nasar situation,” the aged priest told me after his retirement, “I just happened to pick that sermon for that specific day.” He continued to tell me about his sermon, and how vividly he remembered delivering it. “To put it simply, it was about fate, about destiny. I know it questioned a lot of people. I remember saying something like, ‘How do we know we’re supposed to be here, right now?’ That got a lot of controversy. A woman came up to me afterwards and said, angrily, ‘You’re a priest. You should know it’s because of God.’ And during it, a different woman burst out sobbing and had to leave.”

When Amador realized Dr. Dionisio Iguarán’s absence would leave Santiago Nasar’s body to rot, he felt a divine obligation to perform the autopsy. He also knew the mayor had ordered it. After mass, he went home and made lunch for himself in his small house, took a nap right afterwords, and then wrote in his journal. He kept a journal, not because he wanted to, but because he needed to. When he was twenty-one, Amador was studying at Salamanca, where he was planning on being a doctor. Before he graduated, he was mugged and beaten up resulting in severe head trauma. From what the doctors could tell, the muggers must have taken a shovel and with one blow to the head, Amador was out, cold. When he woke up in the hospital, his doctor, Dr. Pedro Malina, diagnosed him with short-term amnesia. “I couldn’t remember anything that happened right before the event, so my doctor suggested keeping a journal from then on, just in case I couldn’t remember something. I was just grateful that I was still alive. I prayed every day after that, and that is why I became a priest. Because I believe God saved me.”

Amador kept saying how ironic it was he did the autopsy. He told me he wrote about it in his journal over and over again because he couldn’t believe he was the person who had to perform the autopsy. “Science and religion never mix, you know? People were surprised how fast I switched from studying medicine to studying God. And it’s such a sensitive topic, religion. I’m surprised people trusted me with a scalpel.” I asked him if he had some journal entries he could share with me, and he willingly said yes. The following is a journal entry after Nasar’s autopsy.

Santiago Nasar’s Autopsy.


Too many wounds to count. Seven were fatal. Liver had two deep

cuts on the anterior side. Four incisions in the stomach, one

destroying pancreas. Six other perforations in the transverse colon,

multiple in the small intestine. One wound perforated right kidney.

Abdominal cavity filled with blood. Space between pectoralis

major 2 and 3 punctured, left axilla punctured. Six minor wounds

on arms and hands. One horizontal cut on right quadricep, one in

tendinous inscriptions. Deep stab in right hand. Hypertrophy in

liver.



How ironic, isn’t it? A to-be doctor finding God, and later, a priest

performing surgery. I’ve always wondered if I was meant to be a

doctor or if I was meant to be a priest? What led me here? What

led me to the exactly alley where I was mugged? God? Why would

God do that? Fate? Is fate our enemy? Why can’t we control our

destiny? I ask too many questions. It was my destiny to be mugged,

and look at the life I’m living now. I have a beautiful home, live in

a beautiful town, and I have a beautiful life. I was meant to be

here.


I asked Amador what he personally thought about Santiago Nasar’s murder, and replied with, “I don’t really know. I didn’t know Santiago that well, that’s why I could bear the autopsy. But what I’ve heard is he was a saint.”

Father Carmen Armado died in a car accident three years after my interview with him. He was driving through an intersection when a black SUV ran through a red light, going fifty miles per hour and pinned him against a lamppost. The rosary hanging from his rearview mirror swung back and forth as the ambulances arrived. The SUV had pinned his head against the window next to him and there was severe internal bleeding. A piece of glass pierced his left lung, he could barely breathe. Fifteen seconds after the accident he had lost too much blood, his heart started to fail and there wasn’t enough oxygen for the brain to function. Twenty seconds, his other major organs started to shut down: liver, brain, heart, kidneys, lungs. Thirty seconds after the accident, Father Carmen Armado was pronounced dead by God.



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hnp34 said...
Dec. 3, 2011 at 11:56 am
Very interesting perspective of the Father. I love this book and I've never really thought about the Father's point of view until now...keep it up!
 
egm94 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm
Why thank you. I love that book as well.
 
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