Subversive Historian – 03/23/09

Archbishop Oscar Romero’s Plea

Back in the day on March 23rd, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador bravely and morally challenged the soldiers of his country. In the midst of a bloody civil war, Romero gave a homily, broadcast throughout the Central American nation, imploring the rank and file members of the national army to stop killing their fellow peasants. His voice spoke with courage despite repeated death threats, as he said, “No solider is obliged to obey an order that is contrary to the will of God.” Two months prior to the homily, Romero asked then President Jimmy Carter to halt U.S. military aid to the brutal regime arguing that it enabled the repression of the Salvadoran people. Falling on deaf ears, Romero’s plea to the soldiers themselves immediately put him within the assassin’s scope. The very next day, as Archbishop Romero gave a homily at an evening mass, a single bullet pierced his heart killing him within minutes.

As the slain martyr once said poetically, “I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will be resurrected in the Salvadoran people.” With El Salvador embarking on a new chapter in its long history of suffering, Archbishop Romero is as present in the spirit of the people as ever.


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