Drawing by Leo Hartshorn
Update: Cause progressing
On January 8, 2015, it was announced that a huge breakthrough had been made in the cause for beatification/canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Theologians who advise the Vatican’s Congregation for the Cause of the Saints have declared that Romero was killed ‘in hatred of the faith’, a key requirement for recognition as a martyr for the Faith. One aspect of the issue is the understanding of that ‘hatred’, and whether it must be directed at the fundamental truths of the faith, or if it includes activities done in obedience to the Gospel (feeding the poor, working for justice, etc. Cf: Matthew 25). Approval by the Congregation itself will hopefully soon follow. This may also open the door to advancement of the cause of others martyred in much the same way, such as the four Women Martyrs of El Salvador.
UPDATE: May 23, 2015 has been set as the date for the beatification ceremony for Archbishop Romero, to be held in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador.
Appointed Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador in 1977, Oscar Romero was executed on March 24, 1080. This assassination took place during a U.S. backed war the U.N. Truth Commission called genocidal.
His offense? He dared to speak up on behalf of the poor in his country who were being slaughtered by the government backed death squads. While saying Mass in a small hospital chapel, he was killed by a single rifle bullet, his blood pouring out upon the altar.
Alongside the tragedy of his death lies the fact that Rome has still not recognized his sacrifice with sainthood for this martyr for the poor. His cause for canonization was introduced in 1990, and continues to languish in Rome.
Words of Oscar Romero
- “Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.” — NAPF page on Oscar Romero
- We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways. —Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1979
- If we are worth anything, it is not because we have more money or more talent, or more human qualities.
Insofar as we are worth anything, it is because we are grafted on to Christ’s life, his cross and resurrection.
That is a person’s measure. —Archbishop Oscar Romero, March 4 1979
From a letter to President Carter: “You say that you are Christian. If you are really Christian, please stop sending military aid to the military here, because they use it only to kill my people.”
The Violence of Love, an ebook compiled by James R. Brockman, S. J.
Also of interest: The El Salvador Martyrs