A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to his People: Volume 6 - The Complete Homilies of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero
CATEGORY: Oscar A. Romero
CATEGORY: Pastoral Resources
This final volume of the series contains the 19 homilies that Archbishop Romero delivered between December 9, 1979, and March 24, 1980, the day on which he was murdered while celebrating the Eucharist. It was a time of mounting violence and near anarchy in El Salvador. As the military rulers and their right-wing death squads strove to repress both the strengthening guerrilla forces and the surging grassroots organizations, Romero warned the nation repeatedly in his preaching about the danger of civil war.
Drawing on the scriptural themes of Advent and Christmas, Romero endeavored to keep the people’s hopes alive amidst the chaos, but he never relented in his condemnation of the cruelty and inhumanity of those who used violence to impose their will. In his homilies he summoned all Salvadorans to radical conversion: the army generals, the wealthy oligarchs, the inept politicians, the guerrilla commandos, the union leaders, and ordinary citizens themselves, who were those suffering the worst of the repression. He even appealed to President Carter to stop financing his nation’s plunge into self-destruction.As the violence and lawlessness intensified, Romero’s words to his people became increasingly prophetic. Though he realized that many wanted to silence his voice, he continued to preach with irrepressible boldness. In an act of great daring, he directly addressed the government soldiers: “I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression!” The next day a shot rang out in the chapel where he was offering Mass. The prophet was killed, but his spirit rose up in his people.
Editor and Translator, Joseph V. Owens, is a Jesuit who has spent most of his active career working in the Caribbean and Central America. His various ministries have included grass-roots organizing, pastoral work, radio apostolate, and teaching.
Oscar A. Romero, born in Ciudad Barrios, on August 15th 1917, studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained priest in 1942. He served the diocese of San Miguel for 25 years. In 1967 he moved to San Salvador as Secretary General of the National Bishops’ Conference. With little pastoral involvement he lived in the Jesuit-run seminary and became speechwriter to the Nuncio. In 1970, appointed Auxiliary Bishop, he expressed frequent criticism of the social involvement of the clergy that had come in the wake of the Medellin Conference of the Continent’s Bishops. In 1974 he was named to the rural diocese of Santiago de Maria and found himself once more caught up in the rural people’s struggle for survival.
In 1977 he was the surprise choice as San Salvador’s new archbishop. Over three years he became the voice of the voiceless poor, speaking the truth about the violations of human rights and the exploitation of the poor. His weekly sermons were legendary and gave hope to the communities suffering terrible repression. He saw six of his priests and dozens of lay leaders assassinated by the security forces before he himself was gunned down at the altar as he celebrated a requiem mass on Monday March 24th 1980.
He is venerated in Latin America and throughout the world as a Vatican II Bishop who made a fundamental option for the poor and gave his life for his people. He is already "Servant of God" Romero - the first step on the ladder to Sainthood. The cause for his Beatification was accepted in Rome in 1997. Ten years later Pope Benedict XVI stated “that Romero himself merits beatification, I do not doubt." In that light the official recognition of Archbishop Romero’s sanctity will surely be forthcoming.
We Also Recommend