Oscar Romero: The Election And Service Of El Salvador

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Before Romero
In many ways, El Salvador was no different than many of its South American neighbors during the 1970 's and 1980 's. The oppressive government that existed in El Salvador had much in common with the violent regimes running Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and others. Death squads, supported if not organized by the ruling governments, murdered with no fear of reprisal those they saw as enemies of the status quo. However, it was the global setting, not simply a continental one, that made South America a hotbed for violent activity. Much as in other places around the globe, financial and military support flowed in freely from the United States to the ruling governments of many of these countries– El Salvador included– sent
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To start, a useful question is this: Why is it that the wealthy and powerful members of El Salvador 's populace were in favor of a Romero appointment? As I have discussed, in the decade or so of time between the Second Vatican Council and the appointment of Oscar Romero the tensions between those with power in El Salvador and those without had boiled over into increased violence. This violence was not desirable for either the wealthy landowners who simply wanted from the populace of El Salvador submissive servants nor for the Vatican who did not desire conflict between the church and any state government. While the bishops of Latin America who gathered at Medellin were more than willing to interpret the directives from the Vatican as supportive of their political activity, it seems the Vatican itself was much less willing to take it to that extent. Because of this, Oscar Romero 's selection as archbishop of San Salvador was celebrated by those in power in El Salvador. It appeared as if the Catholic church had bowed to political pressure. The oligarchy and government believed that a church under the direction of Oscar Romero would "reign in" the extreme priests and bishops and their followers who were agitating for …show more content…
However, the end of Oscar Romero 's days as the voice of the prophetic church was not over simply because his mortal life was complete. The hope of the state activists who thought killing Romero would kill the movement was stomped under the feet of the roughly one-hundred and fifty thousand people at his funeral. It may have been the suffering of, and brutality perpetrated against, the people around him that transformed Oscar Romero from a traditional, conservative priest into the prophetic voice for social justice, but it was Romero 's prophetic call for justice that encouraged, and continues to encourage, those who wish to see it as reality. Ultimately, I believe that it was Oscar Romero 's traditional loyalty to the Catholic Church that allowed him to become the champion of the people. The Second Vatican Council had given all the framework Archbishop Romero needed. The people he served simply provided a lens through which he could interpret the directives. The good, peaceable, traditional Catholic wealthy, powerful Salvadorans wanted is exactly who they received. But they also gave him a reason to see and teach in a new way. In the end, Oscar Romero picked up the message the church hierarchy gave him and embodied its fullest meaning to the people of El

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