Friday, May 22, 2015

Romero presente

 I spent time in El Salvador during the war, mostly on short visits. But in  1987 I spent two months in the urban parish of San Roque, in a zone affected by the 1986 San Salvador earthquake. Occasionally I would walk to the cathedral to spend time at Archbishop Romero’s tomb which, at that time, was in the upper church in the cathedral.

Yesterday, I went to visit his tomb, now in the crypt of the cathedral. I had to wait until it was opened at 2:00. I decided to walk around the block. Thirsty I stopped to get a lemon ice.  Next door, there was a booth selling bootleg music. They were playing songs about Romero, but as I listened  I heard a part of Romero’s last public homily, the day before he was martyred. 

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. 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." No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.

This would never have been heard in the 1980s. In fact, having images of Romero would often make you suspect by the Salvadoran military. But here, Romero's voice was present in the streets of San Salvador.

A little after two o'clock, I entered the crypt and found a group of Salvadorans around the tomb, with a few people from the Romero Foundation. 

One woman spoke of her suffering and a man sang what I think was his composition on Romero: a martyr of faith, a martyr of love, defending the poor.

I stayed and prayed - surrounded by God's people, the poor.

Romero is present here.


A video of the song:

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