FatherÂ Camilo Torres RestrepoÂ (born inÂ BogotÃ¡,Â ColombiaÂ onÂ 3 FebruaryÂ 1929Â â€“ died inÂ SantanderÂ onÂ 15 FebruaryÂ 1966) was aÂ ColombianÂ Roman CatholicÂ priest, a predecessor of theLiberation TheologyÂ and a member of theÂ National Liberation ArmyÂ (ELN)Â guerrillaÂ group. During his life, he tried toÂ reconcileÂ revolutionaryÂ MarxismÂ withÂ Catholicism, or vice-versa.
Torres was ordained aÂ Roman CatholicÂ priest inÂ 1954, but continued to study for some years at the PontificalÂ Catholic University of LeuvenÂ (Louvain) inÂ Belgium. When he returned to Colombia, he increasingly felt obliged to actively support the cause ofÂ poorÂ people and theÂ labouring class. Camilo Torres believed that in order to secureÂ justiceÂ for the people, Christians had a duty to useÂ violentÂ actionÂ (cf:Â an eye for an eye).
His involvement in several student andÂ political movementsÂ during the time won him a large following and also many detractors, specially from the government and the church itself. Due to the growing pressure to back down from hisÂ radicalÂ positions, Camilo Torres saw himselfÂ persecutedÂ and went into hiding (leaving his job as anÂ academic) by joining the guerrillas in Colombia. He served as a low-ranking member of the ELN to whom he also provided spiritual assistance and inspiration from a Marxist-Christian point of view. He was killed in his first combat experience, when the ELN ambushed a Colombian Military patrol.
After his death, Camilo Torres was made an officialÂ martyrÂ of the ELN.
He is perhaps best known for the quote:Â “If Jesus were alive today, He would be a guerrillero.”
In theÂ Dominican RepublicÂ inÂ 1970Â a revolutionary group that included catholic clergy members and university students was founded under the nameÂ CORECATOÂ which stood forComando Revolucionario Camilo TorresÂ orÂ Revolutionary Command Camilo Torres.