Posts Tagged ‘assassinated

16
Mar
11

oscar romero

Salvadorans carry banners with the image of slain Archbishop Oscar Romero during the commemorations of the 30th anniversary of his death at the Metropolitan cathedral in San Salvador, March 24, 2010

I was only 13 when Oscar Romero was assassinated, but as a young Catholic, just getting fired up politically, who couldn’t find any Catholic leaders to respect, until I found him, his death had an enormous effect. These are some edited extracts from Wikipedia about his life:

Oscar Romero was a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador. He was assassinated on March 24, 1980 … He is considered by some the unofficial patron saint of the Americas and El Salvador….

In February 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. His appointment was welcomed by the government, but was met with surprise, dismay, and even incredulity by many priests … who feared that his conservative reputation would negatively affect liberation theology’s commitment to the poor….

On March 12, a progressive Jesuit priest and personal friend Rutilio Grande, who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. His death had a profound impact on Romero who later stated, “When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, if they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path”…..

…In response to Fr. Rutilio’s murder, Romero revealed a radicalism that had not been evident earlier. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture…..

In 1979, the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power amidst a wave of human rights abuses by paramilitary right-wing groups and the government. Romero criticized the United States for giving military aid to the new government…

….Romero was shot on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass at a small chapel one day after a sermon where he had called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s repression and violations of basic human rights. According to an audio-recording of the Mass, he was shot while elevating the chalice at the end of the Eucharistic rite. When he was shot, his blood spilled over the altar along with the contents of the chalice.

A Salvadoran touches the tomb of slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, March 24, 2010…It is believed that the assassins were members of a death squad trained and funded by the United States….

****

Next week, it is being reported, President Obama will visit Monsignor Romero’s tomb during his trip to El Salvador on March 23.

There honestly are no words to describe how incredible the symbolism of that visit would be, if it can happen – for El Salvador, and for current or ex-Catholics (like me) in every part of the world. Romero was an extraordinary man, who made an extraordinary personal journey – he was ‘promoted’ by the Vatican because he was a conservative, but then his friend was murdered:

“When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, if they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path”.

Whatever the truth about his assassination, there is no doubt that the United States – and, sadly, Jimmy Carter – was a shameful accomplice.

So, if Barack Obama, President of the United States, is able to visit Oscar Romero’s tomb next week it would be something incredibly special.




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