Monday, March 25, 2013


There are no shortage of Martyrs, not even in little El Salvador. The most famous is Oscar Romero, he was not the first, and certainly not the last. There is no doubt that he is a saint. He has been proclaimed one, but not by the nomenclatura of his ecclesiastical apparatus. San Oscar was the chief churchman in his country, but politics is nasty. Fascist, and fascist enablers and supporters, are not comfortable with those whom object to the brutality of fascism. One does not have to be a member of an anti-fascist body to merit their hatred.

Over a quarter million people came to his funeral. Some were soldiers (in civilian dress) on buildings, who fired into the crowd. From the shots, and stampede, an estimated thirty to fifty people were killed. The architect of the government murders was Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, later founder of the conservative fascist political party ARENA.

In this wee lighted stained glass at Saint Luke's of Lakewood Ohio, there is an outline of the country of El Salvador, in the center is the archbishop. Also are portrayed the four American church women assassinated by United States supported, and trained government forces on the 2nd of December 1980. In the bottom left is the icon (winged ox) of St. Luke. The nearest visage to it is of a parishioner of St. Luke's, Jean Donovan.
Next to the glass, there is a plaque of two pages. There is a paragraph, and a quotation of each of the five portrayed. For San Oscar, the description reads:
On March 24 1980 in the chapel of the Divina Providencia Cancer Hospital, Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of the Central American nation El Salvador was killed during his homily by a gunman who fired one well-placed bullet through his heart. Archbishop Romero's martyrdom came in the midst of terrible civil strife that would become even worse during the 1980s until it was finally resolved by a 1992 peace accord. Archbishop Romero was martyred even though he had not taken sides in the political conflict, but had urged the warring parties to negotiate instead of using hate and violence to seek reconciliations and compromise in the spirit of Christ. Like Christ, he was put to death for his teaching.

The four women (Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister) were treated far more brutally before their murders. Later, their gruesome fate was brought to the attention of george h.w. bush, he laughed (or presented an awkwardly inappropriate smile) on camera. Al Haig (who spent two years at Notre Dame) said, "I heard there was some kind of a shoot-out. Maybe they were pistol packing nuns".
These Cleveland martyrs are remembered on the walls of Saint Vitus Cleveland too. Sr. Dorothy was remembered at Saint Robert's, until Lennon extinguished the parish. Both Jean and Dorothy, along with Ralph Delaney were remembered at Annunciation, until Lennon extinguished that parish. The memorial was moved to Ascension church, which survived that cluster.
But that glass at St. Luke's was created too soon, or a second companion window was not made. On November 19 1989 at Universidad Centroamericana, in San Salvador, the US trained Salvadoran army assassins came to kill Jesuits. They killed six:  Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró, Segundo Montes, Juan Ramón Moreno, Joaquín López y López, Amando López . Their housekeeper, Elba Ramos, and her daughter, Celina Ramos had the same fortune. No, El Salvador had no shortage of martyrs.
pre postscriptum: it is not right that we cry for these individuals, that have standing in the professed religious life, and not the so many, many Christians, often campesinos, that are so anonymous and poor that we have not recorded their names. They too, were human, and Christian martyrs, but so poor that we have not taken notice of their names. Their souls may be far more golden than the illustrious martyrs, whose names we read in books, and holy cards. It is a great reproach to ourselves that we do not them.

We have a new pope, and he comes from Latin America. I am wont to believe, that he will proclaim San Óscar to the universal church. I understand that the Protestant church of England, and some Lutheran churches have. Why not Rome?  Are there people more Catholic than Rome.

for previous essays click here, 2009, 2007, 2010, 2011 Dec. 2.

1 comment:

  1. As we have had a day of commemoration I thought you might enjoy seeing a music video that we have produced honoring Oscar Romero.  It is part of a new CD release. The singer is a deacon, Michael Glen Bell, and the film maker is Owen Thomas. The Project is the subject of a wonderful article in Canada’s Catholic Register

    Go to to view the video. Feel free to use it on your site, review the album or video, or blog about The Project.  If you do, let us know so we can put a link on ours. If you are interested in a story on The Project, please get back to us. We are located in Indianapolis. You can follow us on Twitter @martyrsproject.