the Assassination of
Archbishop Oscar Romero
March 24, 1980
voice of this reluctant prophet was silenced in 1980
when he was shot in the heart while saying Mass.
His words and his story continue to speak the Gospel to us today.
Photo by Octavio Duran
Romero himself had recently written President Carter asking him not to supply more military aid to the ruling junta until it succeeded in stopping the violence that has racked El Salvador for many months. ...
The archbishop was killed by a gunman Monday night as he was saying a memorial mass for a friend's mother. He died within minutes.
highly popular and controversial figure and outspoken critic of the military
that has long dominated this Central American nation, Romero was looked
upon as one of the few people who could keep the violence-ridden society
from plunging into all-out civil war. ...
Days before his murder
Archbishop Romero told a reporter, "You can tell the people that if they
succeed in killing me, that I forgive and bless those who do it. Hopefully,
they will realize they are wasting their time. A bishop will die, but the
church of God, which is the people, will never perish."
"The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the gospel if it stopped being . . . a defender of the rights of the poor . . . a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society . . . that prepares the way for the true reign of God in history."
'While it is clear that our Church has been the victim of persecution during the last three years, it is even more important to observe the reason for the persecution. ...The persecution comes about because of the Church's defense of the poor, for assuming the destiny of the poor."
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."
"A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth - beware! - is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's call."
"When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises."
at Creighton University
March 24, 2000
Links to learn more:
Force on Central America
Reluctant Conversion of Oscar Romero
Sermons of Oscar Romero
Romero Online Discussion
for Self-Suffiency in Latin America
Four Church Women
This page was created by the
Collaborative Ministry Office
at Creighton University.