Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Présente: Remembering Romero

March 24, 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the martyr-ship of Archbishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated while giving Mass on March 24, 1980. Romero:
As an archbishop who witnessed ongoing violations of human rights, Romero initiated and gave his status to a group which spoke out on behalf of the poor and the victims of the Salvadoran civil war. In many ways Romero was closely associated with Liberation Theology and openly condemned both Marxism and Capitalism.[2] In 1980, as he finished giving his homily during Mass, Romero was assassinated by a group headed by former major Roberto D'Aubuisson.
Romero was a champion for the Poor all the way up to his assassination.

Some of his last few words spoke directly to the violent conflict and bloody civil war that shattered families and the country of El Salvador. On March 23, 1980 these stinging words of condemnation by Archbishop Romero rang out from radio airwaves hitting the ears of El Salvadorans on both sides of the conflict including those who shot Romero the next day:
Archbishop Romero made the following appeal to the men of the armed forces:

"Brothers, you came from our own people. You are killing your own brothers. Any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God, which says, 'Thou shalt not kill'. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you obeyed your consciences rather than sinful orders. The church cannot remain silent before such an abomination. ...In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cry rises to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you: stop the repression"

The day following this speech, Archbishop Romero was murdered. -- Archbishop Oscar Romero - Caracen

Here is a video of Romero's actual last words:

And here is the English translation of his last words:
God's reign is already present on our earth in mystery. When the Lord comes, it will be brought to perfection.

That is the hope that inspires Christians.
We know that every effort to better society,
especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained,
is an effort that God blesses,
that God wants,
that God demands of us.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, March 24 1980

Archbishop Romero is not only a Salvadoran National hero but a true Christian hero who spoke out on behalf of the Poor, the marginalized, the defenseless and the voiceless. His commitment to justice against injustice, dignity against human rights violations, pacifism/non-violence against violence, the way of the Cross and suffering against materialism are commendable. This is why every March 24th Christians everywhere remember and pay respect to the great man and great Christian soul Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez. His legacy lives on---Viva Romero!---Présente!

I'll leave you with one last video to contemplate Romero's legacy---U2's Bullet The Blue Sky:

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