Sunday, October 14, 2018

the authentic, courageous Gospel

Canonization of Oscar Romero and Paul VI, October 14, 2018
Today Óscar Romero (1917–1980) was named a saint by the Catholic Church. I woke up early and watched the live stream from the Vatican. Francis wore the same blood stained belt that Romero was wearing when he was killed. The quotes below are from St. Oscar Romero's homilies, gathered by Richard Rohr OFM. Whatever else is going on, this canonization feels like a good place and direction to me. This is a Church that is firmly rooted in reality (here, now, what is -- the world). It is a great gift to have this anchor in life.

 " ... the Christian faith does not cut us off from the world but immerses us in it." (St. Oscar Romero)

See also: The Political Dimension of Christian Love (Oscar Romero)
The shepherd must be where the suffering is. [1]
My soul is sore when I learn how our people are tortured, when I learn how the rights of those created in the image of God are violated.  [2]
A Gospel that doesn’t take into account the rights of human beings, a Christianity that doesn’t make a positive contribution to the history of the world, is not the authentic doctrine of Christ, but rather simply an instrument of power. We . . . don’t want to be a plaything of the worldly powers, rather we want to be the Church that carries the authentic, courageous Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when it might become necessary to die like he did, on a cross. [3]
In his homily on March 23, 1980, the day before he was murdered, Romero addressed the Salvadoran military directly:
Brothers, we are part of the same people. You are killing your own brother and sister peasants and when you are faced with an order to kill given by a man, the law of God must prevail; the law that says: Thou shalt not kill. No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. And it is time that you recover your consciences. . . . In the name of God, then, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise up to heaven each day more tumultuously, I plead with you, I pray you, I order you, in the name of God: Stop the repression! [4]
The next day, following his sermon, a U.S.-supported government hit squad shot him through his heart as he stood at the altar.
Only a few weeks earlier, Romero had said:
I have often been threatened with death. I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. . . . A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish. [5]
[1] Óscar Romero, Homily (October 30, 1977). See Through the Year with Óscar Romero: Daily Meditations, trans. Irene B. Hodgson (Franciscan Media: 2015, ©2005), 17.
[2] Homily (December 5, 1977). Ibid., 28.
[3] Homily (November 27, 1977). Ibid., 24.
[4] Homily (March 23, 1980). Ibid., 175.
[5] From a telephone interview with newspaper correspondent José Calderón Salazar. See James R. Brockman, Romero: A Life (Orbis Books: 2005), 247-248.

HT: Richard Rohr OFM

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