Monseñor Romero

According to biographical notes, the life of Óscar Arnulfo Romero supposed to delve into one of the most turbulent periods in the history of his country, El Salvador, and Latin America.

Monseñor Romero

Mentioned that in the years in which Monseñor Romero worked more intensely religious, between 1966 and 1980, the increase of Communist movements of peasants in all Latin America (which was favored without doubt by the example of the Cuban revolution from the 59) and the commitment of a significant sector of the Catholic Church with the poor started in the Second Vatican Council and ratified at the Conference of bishops Latin Medellin in 1968, they collided full with oppressive Governments, often arising from coups and supported largely by the United States, whose interests in the area were much more economical than humanitarian.

Óscar Arnulfo Romero was born in Ciudad Barrios (San Miguel) on August 15, 1917 and entered the minor seminary in 1931 and was ordained a priest on April 4, 1942.

His work as a priest begins in the parish of Anamoros, shortly after moving to San Miguel, where for 20 years carried out pastoral work: promoting movements Apostolic as the Legion of Mary, the Knights of Christ or Christianity courses; It develops social as “Alcoholics Anonymous” or Caritas works; It promotes the construction of the Cathedral of San Miguel and promotes devotion to the Virgen de la Paz.

In those years, his work is a priest dedicated to prayer and pastoral activity, but still without a clear social commitment. Meanwhile, the country lives mired in political chaos: occur coups in which the power is almost always in the hands of the military.

However, is in 1966 when he was elected Secretary of the Conference Episcopal of El Salvador and thus begins a more intense public activity that comes to coincide with a period of extensive development of the popular movements that express clearly just a year later with the first working general strike.

The facts of three streets are produced in June 1975: the National Guard kills 5 peasants. Monseñor Romero arrives to comfort the families of the victims and to celebrate the mass. Do a public denunciation of what has happened, as they had requested some sectors, but yes it sent a tough letter to President Molina.

The appointment of Monseñor Romero as Archbishop of San Salvador, on February 23, 1977, is a negative surprise for the renewal sector, expected the appointment of Monseñor Rivera, and a joy for the Government and power groups, who see a possible brake on activity of commitment to the poor was developed by the Archdiocese in this religious of 59 years.

However, a fact occurred just a few weeks later, that will prove decisive in the escalation of violence in El Salvador, will make clear the future line of action of Rosemary: on March 12 killed the Jesuit father Rutilio Grande, progressive man who collaborated in the creation of peasant groups of self-help and good friend of Monseñor.

The newly elected Archbishop urges President Molina to investigate the circumstances of the death and the passivity of the Government and the silence of the press because of the censorship, even threatens the closure of schools and the absence of the Catholic Church in official acts.

The position of Oscar Romero, increasingly more “dangerously” committed to people, begins to be known and valued by the international context: on February 14, 1978 is named Doctor Honoris Causa by Georgetown University (USA). UU); in 1979 it is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and in February 1980, is invested Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Leuven (Belgium). On that trip to Europe visit Juan Paul II at the Vatican and transmits its concern the terrible situation that is living in your country.

In fact, in 1980 El Salvador lived a particularly violent phase in which no doubt the Government was one of the most responsible. The Church estimates that, between January and March of this year, more than 900 civilians were killed by security forces, armed units or paramilitary groups under military control. All it was known that the Government acted in close relationship with the terrorist group order and the death squads.

Just arrived from his trip, on 17 February, ArchbishopRomero sends a letter to President Carter that isopposed to the help USA is providing to theGovernment Salvadoran, an aid which so far only hasfavored the State of repression in which lives thepeople. The response of us President translates into apetition to the Vatican so that you call to order the Archbishop. However, in other countries therecognition to the work of Romero continues: at thatsame time, receives the Swedish Ecumenical actionpeace prize.

The purse seine is closed: in late February, Hectorgiven, Member of the second Board of Government ofEl Salvador, informs Bishop that he has knowledge ofthreats of death against himself and the Archbishop;Romero also receives a notice of threats of similarseriousness by the Apostolic Nuncio in Costa Rica, Monseñor Lajos Kada and early March is flown acabin of locution of the radio station YSAX, LaPanamericana voice, transmitting their Sundayhomilies. On 22 and 23 March, the nuns serving theDivine Providence Hospital, where lives theArchbishop, received anonymous telephone callsthreatening death. Finally, the 24th of that month,Óscar Arnulfo Romero is killed by a sniper whileofficiates mass in the chapel of the Hospital.

The funeral, held in the Metropolitan Cathedral of SanSalvador on March 30, 1980, became a free-for-all inwhich security forces rushed against thousands ofSalvadorans concentrates on the square of theCathedral, among those who were members of thePopular Revolutionary block. The result: more than 40dead and 200 wounded.

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