fourth archbishop of San Salvador (1917-1980)
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- We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood,the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.
- Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love (1977).
- You say that you are Christian. If you are really Christian, please stop sending military aid to the military here [El Salvador], because they use it only to kill my people.
- Letter to Jimmy Carter (February 1980).
Quotes about Romero edit
- For many years, repression, torture and murder were carried on in El Salvador by dictators installed and supported by our government... The story was virtually never covered. By the late 1970s, however, the US government began to be concerned about a couple of things... In El Salvador in the 1970s, there was a growth of what were called "popular organizations"-peasant associations, cooperatives, unions, Church-based Bible study groups that evolved into self-help groups, etc. That raised the threat of democracy. In February 1980, the Archbishop of EI Salvador, Oscar Romero, sent a letter to President Carter in which he begged him not to send military aid to the junta that ran the country. He said such aid would be used to "sharpen injustice and repression against the people’s organizations" which were struggling "for respect for their most basic human rights" (hardly news to Washington, needless to say). A few weeks later, Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying a mass.
- [https://chomsky.info/unclesam09/Noam Chomsky The Crucifixion of El Salvador, from What Uncle Sam Really Wants (1992)
- The real lesson of Romero is that there are no legitimate reasons to deny [civil or natural] rights.
His government in his time believed that [civil or natural] rights could be somewhat “suspended” to protect El Salvador from Communist influences coming from the Soviet Union via Cuba and Nicaragua.
Romero was certainly not an admirer of the Soviet Union, but believed there should be other ways of protecting his country, not suspending [civil or natural] rights.
He taught us that those who advocate for [civil or natural] rights are “for” their countries, not “against” them.
…Romero wrote that religious persecution happens because “truth is always persecuted,” and that God blesses those who protest and fight for freedom. But they should know they should suffer, because “pain is the money that buys freedom.”
…Romero’s key teaching, that there is no reason good enough to justify the violation of [civil or natural] rights, is relevant for both religious liberty and the Tai Ji Men case.
There are governments that claim that limiting religious liberty is necessary to protect social stability or the harmony of the country.
Romero’s message is that this is not a valid justification. [Civil or natural] rights protection defines what a legitimate social stability is, rather than the other way around.
- Massimo Introvigne, "Monsignor Óscar Romero: His Lesson for Freedom of Religion or Belief", Bitter Winter (2021)
- While predicting the future is a rare gift, testifying for the truth is a duty for every woman and man of conscience. …A prophet, Romero added, is one who has an “undisturbed conscience.” This is an interesting statement.
Only those who are firmly rooted in conscience as their moral compass may calmly tell the truth about injustice and corruption, no matter the risks.
And risks there are since prophets easily make enemies.
- Massimo Introvigne, "Remembering Romero: Prophecy, Truth, and the Tai Ji Men Case", Bitter Winter (2023)