Archbishop Oscar Romero’s words and deeds continue to inspire, 27 years after his assassination, a Catholic agency has said.
Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, was shot and killed while celebrating Mass in a chapel near his cathedral on 24 March 1980 after becoming an outspoken critic of human rights abuses in his country.
Speaking ahead of the anniversary of his death, Bishop Gregorio Rosa-Chavez of El Salvador and President of Caritas Latin America and the Caribbean said that Caritas organisations everywhere look to Romero as they seek to build a world where dehumanising poverty and injustice are no more and where the rights of all people are respected.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations present in 200 countries and territories.
Bishop Rosa-Chavez said: “Oscar Romero is the one person who has inspired the work of Caritas the most. He was an inspiration to the poor throughout the world. His teachings are so rich that you can always find new insights that support our work.”
He continued: “There are always dangers of speaking out, but someone has to do it, someone has to raise a voice.”
El Salvador was in the grips of an oppressive and brutal regime when Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. Although not initially outspoken in his new role, he began challenging the status quo soon after his friend Fr Rutilio Grande was murdered for criticising human rights abuses in the country and supporting the rights of farmers and peasants.
From that point on until his murder, Romero became a staunch advocate for the rights of the people of El Salvador, especially the poor and the excluded, speaking out in his sermons against poverty and social injustice and pleading with the authorities in his country to stop the torture, kidnappings, murder, and repression.