A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to his People: Volume IV - The Complete Homilies of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero
CATEGORY: Oscar A. Romero
CATEGORY: Pastoral Resources
This fourth volume recounts a tale of mounting turmoil in El Salvador as the security forces and rightist paramilitary bands wrought havoc in the countryside and in the major cities. Archbishop Romero continued to preach a message of peace and non-violence even as his priests and pastoral agents were being killed, captured, and tortured.
While besieged on many fronts in his homeland, Romero’s fame abroad continued to grow and win acclaim. When the British Parliament nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, he declared that it was his long-suffering people who should receive the prize rather than himself. The World Council of Churches recognized Romero’s achievements and sent a representative to reinforce the archbishop in his struggle with the forces of chaos.
Romero also played an important role at this time in the famous conference of Latin American bishops in Puebla, which strengthened the church’s commitment to economic and social justice for the poor. He traveled to Rome to meet with Pope John Paul II and had to argue with him as Paul argued with Peter in Jerusalem.Romero’s passionate homilies capture the combative spirit of a church trying to restore hope and direction to a country in crisis. The present volume is an English translation of the 31 homilies delivered between December 3, 1978, and June 17, 1979, corresponding to the fourth volume of the original Spanish edition and to Cycle B of the church’s liturgy.
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.
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