Oscar Romero Essay, Research Paper
OSCAR ROMERO was born on August 15, 1917 in Ciudad Barrios, a town east of El Salvador. He was the second of seven children. When he was thirteen he declared a vocation to the priesthood. He went to a seminary in San Miguel and from there Rome. He was ordained in 1942. In January 1944 he was recalled to San Miguel by his bishop and was soon secretary of the diocese. This position he held for twenty-three years. In San Miguel his work flourished and his reputation grew. He established a succession of new organizations and inspired many with his sermons, broadcasted by five local radio stations and heard across the city. Romero was impressed of the new Catholicism that was affirmed with such confidence in Vatican II. In 1970 he became auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, and there he busied himself with administration. In 1974 he became bishop of a rural diocese, Santiago de Maria. Three years later, in February 1977, Oscar Romero became archbishop of San Salvador. In that month a crowd of protesters were attacked by soldiers in the town square of the capital. Then, on 12 March 1977, a radical priest, Rutilio Grande, was murdered. Romero had known him. Now he observed that there was no official inquiry. He recognized that power lay in the hands of violent men, and that they murdered with impunity. The wealthy sanctioned the violence that maintained them. Death squads committed murder in the cities while soldiers killed as they wished in the countryside.
When a new government, which represented many powerful interests was elected it was seen to be by fraud. There was talk of revolution. More and more Romero committed himself to the poor and the persecuted, and he became the instigator for moral prophecy in the church and outside it. Meanwhile, his church began to document the abuse of human rights, and to establish the truth in a country governed by lies, where men and women simply disappeared without account. The press said, The Church and Romero were producers of revolutionists. He responded the church was not a political movement. But when a succession of priests were murdered Romero found in their deaths testimony of a church embodied in the problems of its people.
Oscar A. Romero is one of the greatest symbols of Christian love and solidarity. As Archbishop of San Salvador, Father Romero was a source of strength and hope for the poor and for the oppressed of his country, working with and for them, taking their struggles as his own. Romero wrote and spoke passionately and publicly of the need for Christians to work for justice, frequently faced with threat and danger from those who opposed his ideas. On March 24, 1980, while celebrating the Eucharist, Archbishop Romero was shot and killed at the altar by a death squad assassin, paying the highest price for the commitment about which he spoke so often and so eloquently. Because of his courageous stand for justice, he became a martyr not only for poor Salvadorians but for all struggling to overcome oppression and poverty. Today, his sermons are read as powerful reminders of Christians’ obligation to fight for a just society. Shortly before he died, Romero said:
“It is my hope that my blood will be the seed of freedom
and the sign that hope will soon be reality”
Today the memory of Oscar Romero is cherished by the people of El Salvador and by countless Christians across the world.