Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Last sermon of San Óscar Romero de las Americas

“...Brothers, you came from our own people. You are killing your own brothers. Any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God, which says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you obeyed your consciences rather than sinful orders. The church cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.
The church preaches your liberation just as we have studied it in the holy Bible today. It is a liberation that has, above all else, respect for the dignity of the person, hope for humanity’s common good, and the transcendence that looks before all to God and only from God derives its hope and its strength. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cry rises to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you: stop the repression.”
— Óscar Arnulfo Romero Y Galdámez. 23 March 1980.
The next day, in a hospital chapel, "La Divina Providencia" in San Salvador, Archbishop Romero elevated the Eucharistic Chalice and was shot in the heart by an assassin [trained by the US military] following the orders of a graduate of the School of the Americas, Roberto D'Aubuisson. The blood on the altar was Jesus' and Óscar's. During his funeral Mass 'death squads' fired into the crowd killing some dozens of people.

To-morrow, the President of the United States, Barack Obama will go to the tomb of Romero in the cathedral. It will make for an handsome photographic shoot. Has the US of A done much to stop such political repression and assassinations in the Western Hemishere? The School of the Americas still functions at Fort Benning, Georgia under the name of Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. D'Aubuisson's political party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, ARENA) is not pleased with Obama's visit.

Romero is recognised as a saint by the Anglican Church. Rome has delayed itself in the official announcement. In 1997 he was declared a Servant of God. Jerzy Popiełuszko was martyred four and an half years later, and is recognised as Blessed. Popiełuszko was to Poland, what Romero was to El Salvador; although the political oppressor of the church and people, in the two lands, was different. Canonisation is politics too.

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