Ignacio Quintanilla Navarro (1960-2023)

Posted On 2023-07-16 In Schoenstatters

Ignacio Luciano Quintanilla. Mors non est finis

SPAIN, 2nd Course of the Apostolic Family Federation in Spain •

A cynical Spanish proverb says that “there is no such thing as a bad dead person.” It refers to the fact that when a person dies, all his faults are forgotten, and his virtues are exaggerated and sometimes invented. —

For this reason, anyone reading this text without having known Ignacio Quintanilla may rightly think that it is a typical obituary. But it is not. We want to reflect, with absolute respect for the truth, what our friend and course brother was really like. He and his wife Pilar were extraordinarily discreet people who were reluctant to be the center of attention. For this reason, we did not want to preserve these memories in the intimacy of our course, but to share them in this moment where sadness and gratitude are mixed.

Despite his intellectual greatness, he never had an elitist pretension

His great intellectual capacity is evident to us. He was a philosopher who had the virtue of analyzing the most complex questions (we will miss his intuitions about the artificial intelligence that is coming our way), with an absolute originality that made it impossible to classify him in one of the mutually exclusive camps of thought and that sometimes left his interlocutors confused.

When he explained something to us, he did not try to leave us speechless, but to be didactic to make himself understood. In the academic world there is also a class-conscious attitude, just as in the world of money or aristocracy. Just as those who do not have a minimum of wealth or illustrious ancestors are looked down upon, in the intellectual world there is a sense of superiority over those who do not have a doctorate or publications with a high number of citations. Ignacio never had any elitist pretensions, preferring to think of himself as a small-town high school teacher, although he had published several books and numerous articles and made contributions to the media.

He found his intellectual stature and interest in science compatible with a deep faith, perhaps because he had not received it uncritically as a child. His relationship with God was adult and mature, but at the same time loving and trusting, which became evident in difficult moments.

Foto del día en que presentó su último libro, junto a su mujer, Pilar, una semana antes de morir.

Presentation of his last book, a week before his death

Building Bridges

el día en que presentó su último libro, junto a su mujer, Pilar, una semana antes de morir.

Presentación de su último libro, una semana antes de morir

Ignacio liked to build bridges, both large and small. He contributed, as much as he could, to create a platform that could overcome the situation created by the Catalan independence process. He was personally affected by the unrest, not so much by the political consequences. But he did not limit himself to matters of general interest. His brother told us that Ignacio was the one who had held his family of origin together under difficult circumstances. And this did not mean that Ignacio did not have “strong” opinions, but that it was fundamental for him that everyone recognize the possibility of acting in good faith and that it is not honest to claim a priori to be in the right, but to make a sincere effort to convince through rational arguments. Last April 27, he published an article in the newspaper El Mundo on how to deal with the abortion issue, which sums up very well his ideas on how to debate such a divisive issue.

He was always sensitive. He was very good at recognizing the needs and interests of his counterpart and adapting to them. He was always a pleasure to talk to and very easy to do things with. His last book, which he wrote with Pilar, came out of Pilar’s interest in ecology. It was not a subject that was among Ignacio’s priorities, but he realized that it was a task that would help Pilar, and eventually he made the ecological issue his own. Ignacio’s interest in other people’s issues was not fake, because in the end the person notices and this fiction generates rejection. Out of affection, he made his own what moved the person next to him. Like Elia’s interest in chores, small repairs, and updates that father and son worked on so often.

A family man

And clearly Ignacio was a family man. It was clear what his priority was. It was not his books or his demanding job as principal. He was always there for Pilar and his children. Pilar and Ignacio were a couple in love. We do not want to paint an embellished and therefore false picture of their relationship, but it was clearly based on love and mutual admiration.

Pilar and Ignacio were good educators, they served the lives that were entrusted to them. One only must look at their children, Pablo, Lorenzo, Pilar, Almudena and Elías, to be sure what kind of people they are.

Let us remember the good times. Ignacio liked to enjoy the little things: a good book, a good conversation, music… And he liked to share that joy. He always invited us to taste a cheese, a beer, an infusion he had discovered… At some point in the course, he suggested that the formation, the apostolate, and the education were very good, but that he was looking for a place where he could rest and enjoy himself in the course. And this led to a series of very fruitful meetings. He prepared one about angels and gave us a lecture at the Prado Museum, explaining the subject through art. A very special moment that we will always carry with us.

As he hoped, we trust that his guardian angel led him to heaven.

Goodbye Ignacio.

Estas fotos se tomaron desde el tanatorio el día de la muerte de Ignacio.

Photo from the morgue on the day of Ignacio’s death

Written for publication on the Family Federation website and on schoenstatt.org. Published (almost) simultaneously.


Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org

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