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  • Worker cleans a graffiti portraying Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, El Salvador.

    Worker cleans a graffiti portraying Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, El Salvador. | Photo: Twitter/ @santegidionews

Published 24 March 2020
Opinion

Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero was killed while celebrating mass on March 24, 1980.

Latin America today remembers El Salvador's Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the “Voice of the Voiceless”, who was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while holding a mass.

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“After his death, Romero’s profile grew, shedding light on the dramatic situation in San Salvador. Romero was killed like a martyr: he had not left the country to save his own life, as he had been advised. He was venerated by the poor; he was a revolutionary hero for the Left, and a major concern for the Right,” the Sant’Egidio Community recalled.

Sanctified by Pope Francis on October 14, 2018, Romero was a human rights defender who kept his church's doors open to farmers displaced from their lands due to the civil war (1980-1992).

The first conflicts of the “Saint of the Americas” with the establishment arose when he began to publicly oppose the violence that the Salvadoran state implemented against workers to protect the privileges of the rich.

"The government should not take the priest who speaks out for social justice as a politician or a subversive. He is fulfilling his mission in the common good policy," Romero said in 1977.

Due to his human rights advocacy, Romero became the victim of a smear campaign against his archbishop's ministry. For years, corporate media insulted and slandered him.

"In the name of God and of this suffering people... I ask you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God, stop the repression," Saint Romero said on Sunday, March 23, 1980. Those words became his death sentence.

A day later a sniper, who was part of theCIA_funded death squads, killed the priest with a shot to the head while he was officiating the Eucharist.

On March 30, his funerals were carried out by a massive demonstration called by organizations of farmers, workers, and students.

"The word remains, and that is the great consolation of the one who preaches. My voice will disappear but my word, which is Christ, will remain in the hearts that have wanted to collect it," Saint Romero said in 1978.

Saint Romero of America, the prophet of the wounded chest, pray for the life and peace of these peoples. Intercede for us at the time of the pandemic. March 24th.

On May 13, 2015, Monsignor Romero was beatified by Pope Francis who recognized that he was the victim of a crime "in hatred for his faith."

Besides being an act of justice for Salvadorans, his beatification was celebrated by the Latin American peoples for whom Oscar Arnulfo Romero represents the symbol that reminds all human rights defenders who were killed by U.S.-backed dictatorships. To remember him is to keep alive the historical memory of the oppressed.

For years, his beatification was blocked by the Catholic Church's most conservative sectors which feared that making Monsignore Romero a saint would be seen as support for Liberation Theology, a movement to which he never belonged.​​​​​​​

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