Oscar
Romero
1917-1980
Friend of the powerful
Fr. 1977,
Oscar he
Romero
was
In
became
shy, conservative,
Archbishop
of San and
a friend ofthe
powerful
Salvador,
capital.
people in El Salvador.
Some rich people
were pleased - they
thought he would
help to control the
poor people in the
countryside, known
as ‘campesinos’.
Friend of the powerful
Many wealthy people
did not want to share
their wealth, especially
their land, with the
campesinos.
The government and
army supported the
rich and powerful,
oppressing the
campesinos violently.
Friend of the poor
Less than a month later,
Romero’s friend, Fr. Rutilio
Grande, was shot dead after
criticising the government.
Romero was upset and angry.
He insisted that the murder
be investigated. This never
happened.
From that point, Romero
became a friend of the
campesinos, a voice for those
who had no power against
the violence they suffered.
Voice of the voiceless
“Many would like the poor to keep on
saying it is God’s will for them to live
that way. But it is not God’s will for
some to have everything and others to
have nothing. That cannot be of God.”
Voice of the voiceless
In his radio broadcasts,
especially his weekly
Cathedral sermons,
Romero spoke out against
the violence being done to
the campesinos.
When he received death
threats Romero said:
“If they kill me, I will rise
again in the Salvadoran
people.”
Martyrdom
On 24 March 1980, Romero was saying
Mass in this small chapel.
A car drew up and a shot was fired through
the open church door. Romero was killed.
Funeral violence
Tens
ofsermon
thousands
came to
As
the
began,
say goodbye
their
there
was an to
explosion
and
beloved
Archbishop.
shots
rang
out as gunmen
fired into the crowds.
During the funeral 250,000
crowded
around
More
thanthe
30streets
died and
the Cathedral.
over
200 were injured.
Romero’s tomb
During the chaos,
Romero’s body was laid to
rest in the crypt below the
Cathedral.
It has become a place of
pilgrimage.
El Salvador today
In March 2009, Mauricio Funes was
elected
presidentdeath,
and pledged
to
After Romero’s
El Salvador
follow
the a
example
of Archbishop
suffered
civil war.
Romero.
Many people, mostly campesinos,
were is
killed
disappeared.
There
now or
hope
for a more just
and peaceful El Salvador.
CAFOD in El Salvador
Archbishop Romero was a CAFOD partner - a person or
group supported by CAFOD to work with people who are
poor. CAFOD partners still work in El Salvador.
CAFOD in El Salvador
They help people to find ways to make a living
and to prepare for hazards like hurricanes and
earthquakes.
They care for people with HIV and AIDS and try
to reduce the number affected by the illness.
They stand up for human rights and work to
resolve conflicts.
Photographs:
Equipo Maiz
Claudia Torres
CAFOD
Find out more about CAFOD’s work in El Salvador at:
cafod.org.uk/wherewework/elsalvador
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