Oscar Romero Essay Research Paper If one

Oscar Romero Essay, Research Paper If one seeks to fully comprehend the complexity surrounding the life and untimely death of Oscar Romero, they must initially be exposed to the notion of liberation theology. The

Oscar Romero Essay, Research Paper

If one seeks to fully comprehend the complexity surrounding the life and untimely death

of Oscar Romero, they must initially be exposed to the notion of liberation theology. The

theory of liberation which emphasises social and economic justice for the poor, became a

major force in El Salvadoran Catholicism. El Salvador is a country with its foundations

in religion, a religion entwined with political dogma. El Salvadorians were confronted by

a structured society which neglected the division, primarily the economic separation of

the community. As a result of a poverty stricken existence under the guidance of a

political system – a conglomeration of conservatives intentionally ignoring the problem,

thus conserving current status and order, a revolutionary Christian group was formed.

The Church and the State exhibited themselves as conservative allies, thus resulting in a

multitude of radical groups formed – Jesuits, Marxists and liberation theologists

collectively enforcing through action, the needs of the people. One such revolutionary -

Oscar Romero, underwent a dramatic transition in relation to the disharmony within his

native country from the period of his appointment to Archbishop. This essay will focus

primarily on the changes exhibited by Romero during his period of status within the

Church hierarchical system, and examine briefly the concept and consequent outcome of

liberation theology.

Integrity is a primary attribute in relation to the common ideal of all good men, but is

particularly expected of those in positions of authority. Such promotion of status is based

upon an individual?s ability to display certain virtues, or perhaps initially in the case of

Romero, appointment occurred with underlying intent on behalf of the electors. It is

probable that prior to his appointment to Archbishop by Pope Paul VI, he exhibited a

tendency to passiveness, thus resulting, quite ironically in his prime candidacy. Romero?s

rise through the ranks of the Catholic church was not a route to Episcopal power, he was

by disposition quite reserved and conventional. Preceding his direct exposure to the

horrors of the civil war, he was somewhat hesitant in defining his existent stance between

the conservative forces within the community and the revolutionaries. However, an act of

misguided vengeance resulting in the tragic deaths of Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande and

Father Alfonso Navarro respectively, strengthened Romero?s perspective. The

consequent development of courage enabled him to voice his beliefs in relation to the

injustice within El Salvadoran society, hence generating an encouragement of faith

throughout the Catholic population. Among Romero?s most commonly recognised

contributions in the struggle against faction dictatorship and exploitation, were his

reproval of the intemperance of the Gen. Carlos Romero and the unjustifiable savagery

exhibited by the national guard. Romero consistently devised pastoral letters and held

public prayer session which resulted, inevitably in his identification as ?the voice of the


Romero was aware of the hypocritical dogma of the existent pseudo democracy, thus

he exposed to the world the oppression suffered by the Salvadoran impoverished.

Initially, there existed within Romero an element of fear in relation to the negatively

dominant influences on the lives of the general populace – the conservatives of the

church, the government, the national guard and the guerrilla revolutionary forces.

However, such fear was diminished and in its place an innate strength flourished, a

transition from a man of word to one of action – with not even the slightest exhibition of

pretensciousness. This portrayal of outspoken leadership posed a threat to those forces

who held conflicting views, thus resulting in Romero?s eventual destiny – his martyrdom.

Oscar Romero was assassinated at 6:30 p.m. on Monday 24th March 1980 in the

Chapel of the Divine Providence in San Salvador. His elimination generated a shockwave

of grief throughout the predominantly Catholic nation, beloved and idolised by those for

whom he exhibited protection and campaigned for justice – the campesinos or peasants.

The unjustified slaying of innocent civilians continued post-assassination reaching a toll

in the tens of thousands. In a sense, Romero envisioned his assassination and so

preceding his death left his people with a reassuring statement of faith – ?A Bishop may

die, but the church of God, which is the people, will never die.?

Both foreign and native clergy worked to involve the urban and rural poor in political

efforts to protect their rights and improve their lives. Despite the republican and

democratic provisions of its constitutions, a small, elite group of landowners and military

officers has dominated government in El Salvador. Since the Civil war of the 1980s

however, more democratic procedures have been adopted, including reforms in the

electoral system and inclusion of former leftist guerrillas in the political system. More

people in other social classes have participated in government as a result of the struggle

for liberation from the entrapments of social division. Romero?s plight of freedom, for

which he passionately fought, remains in the hearts and minds of the people and will

never be forgotten.