Oscar Romero: Santo Subito!
I can think of no modern churchman who deserves the title "saint" more than Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the martyred archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated 30 years ago today. He was the first bishop martyred while celebrating Mass since the time of St. Thomas of Becket. There are many great resources about Monsenor Romero, as he is called by many Spanish-speaking Catholics, including a new and beautifully illustrated book, which I just finished a few weeks ago called Oscar Romero and the Communion of Saints, from Orbis Books. by Scott Wright.
Today there is this tribute by William Doino in the London Times, who notes: "Progressives can applaud his prophetic stance on social justice; and traditionalists can champion his deep spirituality and obedience to historic Catholic teaching." There is this report from BBC news on the remembrance of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador today among those who remember him best. There is this piece in The Washington Post on his "radical act of staying put." There is this article from America's archives, on the 25th anniversary, on the contemporary parallels to Romero's mise-en-scene. And there is this week's cover story in Commonweal, by Robert White, the former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador. Finally, this terrific resource webpage at Creighton University.
At his installation as bishop, Romero, though a deeply prayerful man, was thought by many to be the tool of the wealthy, the landed, the powerful. But the death of his friend, the Jesuit Rutilio Grande, helped to open his eyes to the injustices visited on the poor in his land, and transformed him into a powerful advocate for social justice. He was a tireless promoter of the Gospel, a lover of God, a friend of Jesus. His martyrdom came as a direct result of his standing up for God's beloved.
The delay in Archbishop Romero's canonization verges on the unbelievable.
James Martin, SJ