This article focuses on the political thought and practice of the martyred Jesuit intellectual during the late 1970s. It employs the concept of desencuentros, probing the relationship between linguistic misunderstandings and political division. The article highlights Ignacio Ellacuría's novel analyses of the relationship between the ecclesial and the popular organisations, led by the radical Left. It discusses his political thought in relationship to the author's research on the base communities of northern Morazán. The article also discusses the Jesuit scholar's critical support for the Junta Revolucionario de Gobierno (15 October 1979–2 January 1980). The concluding section discusses Ellacuría's relevance for contemporary Latin American politics.