Oscar Romero Essay, Research Paper
Individuals often become heroes because of the extraordinary courage they demonstrate. An unyielding determination to do what is right, true, and just became a guiding principle for Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero. He informed the world about all the people who had been tortured, slaughtered, and of those who had “disappeared” in his country, El Salvador. A single bullet transformed him into a martyr. His life was taken, but his voice could not be silenced.
Romero was appointed Archbishop of El Salvador in 1977. In the late 1970s the Church in Central America was being contested by two contrasting ideologies: those priests who wanted to maintain a stabilizing presence of non-confrontation in politics and those who believed it was their duty to speak out against the state’s cruelty. Romero was chosen to be Archbishop because he was thought to be a moderate with whom all could agree. Soon after becoming the Archbishop, however, Romero’s close friend Father Rutillo Grande was assassinated by a paramilitary death squad. This had a dramatic and profound effect on his life. Father Grande’s assassination resulted in Romero’s determination to redefine the nature of the Church as the defender of the poor and to denounce from the pulpit the evils of state-supported death squads. As a gesture of solidarity with the preachings of Father Grande, Romero refused to appear in any public ceremonies with Army or Government personnel until the true nature of his friend’s murder was brought out and true social change began. Archbishop Romero soon became the voice and conscience of El Salvador. His words and actions crossed state borders and were heard internationally. His fight for human rights led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. He spoke words of peace, but they were a threat to the tyrannical policies of the government. When the world becomes a witness, it is harder to terrorize, torture and murder.
On March 24, 1980 at 6:25 p.m. Romero was performing mass. As he prepared the Eucharist, a shot from the back of the church struck him in the chest, killing him instantly. Romero died, but his words, deeds, and actions remained very much alive.