25 March 2013

A Day Late, But Ever Timely: Reflections on +Romero

It's a day after the thirty-third anniversary of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero.  Perhaps, I should have made this post yesterday, but in and of itself, there is no better day to remember Romero than today.  There is never a better day than today.  The reason for this, of course, is that Romero and his message aren't committed to a particular day, or even a particular generation, nation or region.  Rather, Romero himself -- and his martyrdom -- stands as a symbol of sorts for a sort of timeless struggle against that which is evil, oppressive and unjust.  And I may note, ever carefully, that Romero stood not against the injustice which excludes from the polity -- no: it was greater than this.  It seems to me that Romero stood against a great injustice, the inculcation of the evil of this world that rips someone from life to death in an instant.

Just as the "Kingdom" is personified in the person of Christ himself, we too may concretize its antonym, the Reign of Evil, as a real presence in the world  (or even an anti-presence).  And by recalling Romero, his memory and message, we remind ourselves that it is necessary to stand up to real evil in the world: to confront powers and principalities, to refuse to capitulate to that evil which does the harm of death (Eph. 6:12).

I remember being in Salvador and visiting Romero's cathedral and the crypt where he was buried, of visiting the place where he was murdered too.  I prayed at his tomb.  I prayed in the chapel where he met his fate.

The concreteness of the places stick with me: they were real places, Romero was a real man who stood up to other real men bent on a sort of anti-Gospel.  And Romero died a real death.

This Holy Week, I cannot hope but to be half the person Romero was, a man who, in all his realness, in all of his acute recognition that there are times that the most real thing one can do is to stand up to evil realities, even to the point of (temporary) destruction.


Paul A. Zalonski said...

I look to the Archbishop as a contemporary witness to Christ crucified, risen and ascended. I've struggled with calling him a martyr in the sense the Church uses the term as applied to people like Sts Peter and Paul, St Stanislaus, and St Thomas Becket. Saint he is. But is he martyr in this way?

Blessed Holy Week.

Duane Arnold said...

As we have had a day of commemoration I thought you might enjoy seeing a music video that we have produced honoring Oscar Romero.  It is part of a new CD release. The singer is a deacon, Michael Glen Bell, and the film maker is Owen Thomas. The Project is the subject of a wonderful article in Canada’s Catholic Register

Go to to view the video. Feel free to use it on your site, review the album or video, or blog about The Project.  If you do, let us know so we can put a link on ours. If you are interested in a story on The Project, please get back to us. We are located in Indianapolis. You can follow us on Twitter @martyrsproject.