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Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was born in Ciudad Barrios, a town east of El Salvador, on 15 August 1917. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1942. In February 1977, Oscar Romero became archbishop of San Salvador.

In that same month, a crowd of protesters were attacked by soldiers in the town square of the capital. Then, on 12 March 1977, a radical priest, Fr. Rutillo Grande, was murdered in Aguilares. Romero had known him and observed that there was no official inquiry into Fr. Rutillo’s murder. He recognized that power lay in the hands of violent men and that they murdered with impunity. When a new government, which represented a coalition of powerful interests, was elected it was seen to be by fraud.

More and more, Romero committed himself to the poor and the persecuted, and he became the catalyst for radical moral prophesy both in the church and outside it. The press attacked Romero vehemently. Romero, it was said, allied the church with revolutionaries. This he repudiated: the church was not a political movement, but when successions of priests were murdered, Romero found in their deaths “testimony of a church incarnated in the problems of its people.”

In May 1979, he visited the Pope in Rome and presented him with seven dossiers filled with reports and documents describing the injustices of El Salvador. The threats and dangers against Romero continued to mount. On March 24, 1980 he was assassinated while celebrating mass in the chapel of the hospital where he lived. He was declared a martyr in 2015 and was canonized in October 2018.

Adapted from: https://darstcenter.org/social-justice-activist-spotlight-oscar-romero/