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“A church that does not provoke crisis, a gospel that does not disturb, a word of God that does not touch the concrete sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed–what kind of gospel is that?”
Three short years transformed El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero from a conservative defender of the status quo into one of the most outspoken voices of the oppressed. An assassin’s bullet ended his life, but his challenge lives on. In March 2018 Pope Francis announced that the Catholic Church would canonize Oscar Romero, acknowledging that he is indeed a saint who was martyred for proclaiming the gospel, and that the political and social implications of that message, which so scandalized the powerful, flowed directly from Romero’s faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus.
These selections from Archbishop Oscar Romero’s diaries, letters, homilies, and radio talks invite each of us to align our own lives with the way of Jesus that lifts up the poor, welcomes the broken, wins over enemies, and transforms the history of entire nations.
As Pope Francis wrote on the occasion of Oscar Romero’s beatification in 2015, “Archbishop Romero, who built peace with the strength of love, gave witness to the faith with his life, given to the extreme….We give thanks to God because he granted the martyred bishop the ability to see and hear the suffering of his people, and molded his heart so that, in His name, he could direct them and illuminate them…. Archbishop Romero invites us to sanity and reflection, to respect for life and harmony. It is necessary to renounce ‘the violence of the sword, of hate’ and to live ‘the violence of love, that left Christ nailed to the Cross, that makes each one of us overcome selfishness and so that there be no more such cruel inequality between us.’ He knew how to see, and experienced in his own flesh, ‘the selfishness that hides itself in those who do not wish to give up what is theirs for the benefit of others.’ And, with the heart of a father, he would worry about the ‘poor majority,’ asking the powerful to convert ‘weapons into sickles for work.’ May those who have Archbishop Romero as a friend…find in him the strength and courage to build the kingdom of God, to commit to a more equal and dignified social order.”$16.95