Oscar Romero: A Light for the Poor
Today marks the anniversary of the death of Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador and a powerful champion of the poor. He was killed 30 years ago while presiding over Mass in a hospital chapel in El Salvador.
Romero was an outspoken advocate for those on society’s margins -- the poor, the victimized, those who suffered the effects of unjust economic and social systems, as well as the brutality of El Salvador’s death squads and corrupt government institutions.
His advocacy cost him his life; he suspected it would. But the death threats and assassination attempts didn’t stop him from pursuing the way of Jesus.
In his Aug. 6, 1977, pastoral letter, Romero writes:
The church, like Jesus, has to go on denouncing sin in our own day. It has to denounce the selfishness that is hidden in everyone's heart, the sin that dehumanizes persons, destroys families, and turns money, possessions, profit, and power into the ultimate ends for which persons strive. And, like everyone who has the smallest degree of foresight, the slightest capacity for analysis, the church has also to denounce what has rightly been called 'structural sin:' those social, economic, cultural, and political structures that effectively drive the majority of our people onto the margins of society. When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises.
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