Friday, March 25, 2011

"No se mata la justicia"

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez. Romero was the fourth Archbishop of El Salvador. When he was appointed, he had a reputation for being a conservative bishop, but shortly afterwards his close friend Fr. Rutilio Grande, who was fairly progressive, was killed; this led Romero to involve himself more actively in the sort of work Grande had been doing with the poor. He began actively campaigning against the government of El Salvador for its role in assassination, torture, and injustice against the poor.

Romero himself was assassinated; he was shot in Church on March 24, 1980 while presiding at Mass. Ever since Father Grande's death he had recognized that it was a real possibility that he would be killed; his response to it had always been that even if he did die because of his advocacy, justice does not die, the Church does not die. From a Lenten sermon in 1979:

A Church that does not suffer persecution is not the true Church of Jesus Christ. This does not mean that martyrdom and suffering and fear and persecution are normal but rather that all of these realities ought to give meaning to the Christian spirit. It is not enough to walk with the Church when things are going well but we must also follow Jesus Christ with the same enthusiasm as the apostle who said: Let us also go to die with him.

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