One single bullet. One shot ended Archbishop Romero’s life at 6.26 pm on 24th March 1980, when he was saying Mass in the cancer hospital where he chose to live.
The assassin has never been arrested. San Salvador’s government disclaimed all responsibility. Why was Archbishop Romero killed?
He spoke out ceaselessly against the country’s extreme poverty, the paramilitary killings of community leaders, peasant massacres, the disappearance of political prisoners, the wholesale attacks on priests, religious and ordinary members of the Church. Romero said that a deeply Catholic country was becoming a dominion of hell.
He has been recognised as a martyr. A martyr is one who witnesses to his belief. Archbishop Romero was doing what Jesus taught his followers to do.
Jesus was killed because he presented a new way of life, challenging the abuse of power and wealth. Jesus proclaimed a God of compassion. He also said ‘Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man’.
Are we, as Christ and persons like Archbishop Romero, willing to speak out against injustice, poverty, bad laws, discrimination and unfair treatment? Are we willing to speak out against abortion on demand, same sex ‘marriage’, assisted dying legislation? The enemies of Jesus thought killing him would end his movement, just as silencing Archbishop Romero with a bullet would end protests against the regime.
John Cairns, King’s Lynn Catholic Church