Assasinated 30 years ago, Archbishop Romero deserves sainthood – do you agree?


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Posted on Fri, Mar. 26, 2010

Commentary: Assassinated 30 years ago, Archbishop Romero deserves sainthood
Randy Jurado Ertll | The Progressive Media Project
last updated: March 26, 2010 10:15:58 AM

The pope should make El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero a saint.

Thirty years ago this week, Romero was gunned down by Salvadoran death squads linked to that country’s military. He gave his life defending the rights of the poor and standing up to the brutality of the powerful.

He was murdered on March 24, 1980. The day before, he had publicly asked the Salvadoran military and National Guard to stop murdering their own brothers and sisters. After his murder came a deluge of more blood, as more than 80,000 Salvadorans were murdered – and tens of thousands tortured – during the following dozen years of civil war. Most of the deaths came at the hands of the Salvadoran military and paramilitary forces, which the U.S. government supported.

For many years, Romero served the wealthy families of El Salvador. He seemed to hide from the cruel injustices that were occurring in his country.

But he had a life-changing experience when he visited a poor village known as “Los Naranjos.” He realized that children were starving and farmworkers were essentially enslaved to work the lands. He saw that they were abused and mistreated. He understood they were not allowed to speak up or to denounce injustices. If they did, then torture, beatings or death would be their fate.

Another turning point for Romero came in 1977, when his friend and fellow priest Rutilio Grande was murdered in cold blood.

And so he started to speak out for the poor and the persecuted. And when the Salvadoran death squads brutally murdered labor advocates, peasant organizers, human rights workers and religious leaders, he denounced these horrors in no uncertain times.

“I would like to make a special appeal to the men of the army, and specifically to the ranks of the National Guard, the police and the military,” he said in his last sermon. “Brothers, you come from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God, which says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ … I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression.” Thirty years have passed since Romero was murdered but his spirit and legacy are alive and well.

He had to endure many accusations and defamations. He was not a communist archbishop, as he was falsely labeled. At bottom, he was a true man of the cloth.

Millions of Salvadorans revere Romero as a national hero.

The current archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar Alas, announced last month that he had written to Rome to ask that Romero be canonized “as soon as possible” and that the pope declare him as “San Romero de las Americas.” Archbishop Romero did not die in vain. Let’s keep his legacy alive by supporting the efforts to make him a saint. He deserves no less.


Randy Jurado Ertll is the author of the book “Hope in Times of Darkness: A Salvadoran American Experience.”


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  16. Hi Stephanie,

    Good question – let me find out who is leading the effort to request for the Sainthood of Monsr. Romero.

  17. Stephanie says:

    Declaring a saint requires a well organized effort with testimonies and scientific evidence of miracles attributed to the intercession of an individual. Who is organizing this for him?

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