The Beatification of Oscar Romero

Dear Catholics,

Whether or not you know who Oscar Romero[1] is probably depends on which nation you live in, what generation you are part of, and what race and class you are. Many Catholics who are poor, working class, or of the global majority, especially from Latin America, know who he is and love him. Progressive people, Catholic or not, often know who he is and about his courageous stands, as well as what killed him and why. However, many of us who are white and from imperialist nations have been deliberately confused and disconnected from the rest of the world and so lack information about oppression.

I hope you will use the beatification of Oscar Romero[2] to ask other Catholics what they understand about Romero’s life and death and the direction Pope Francis appears to be taking us. I hope you will raise these questions with Catholics who are observant and those who are not—in your families and churches, and in RC with other Catholic-heritage people as well as our allies.

Joanne Bray
International Liberation
Reference Persons for Catholics
Greenwich, Massachusetts, USA

 Thanks, Joanne, for writing and calling attention to Monseñor Romero and the Salvadoran people. It means a lot to me. 

I have lived all my life in the United States, and until I was in my thirties I knew El Salvador only through U.S. news media, film, and progressive artists. Then in 1998 I began a friendship with a Salvadoran immigrant whom I met at a bus stop and started Co-Counseling with a Salvadoran I met at an RC workshop in Mexico.

It is hard to describe what the past seventeen years have opened up for me. During this time I have Co-Counseled regularly with several people from El Salvador, lived with a Salvadoran friend, worked with Salvadorans in my food-service job, become friends with people currently living in El Salvador, taught one of them Co-Counseling over the phone and by e-mail, and visited the country several times. The stories and perspectives that Salvadoran people have shared with me have been powerful and invaluable, and I have discharged a lot.

Before these experiences I was living in a bubble of misinformation, at a distance from the rest of the world. I have only begun to absorb a bit of the huge complexity of the planet we live on, but my previous limits have been replaced by a sense of possibility.

In El Salvador the distress patterns of the political right still operate, imposing on the people a distressed, distorted version of reality. Pope Francis’ moving forward Monseñor Romero’s sainthood makes it harder to hide the truth and confuse people about what happened in the country. It will have a similar effect in the United States.

With love and solidarity,

Victor Nicassio
Los Angeles, California, USA

 Traducción al español del artículo anterior:
Spanish translation of the preceding article:

Gracias, Joanne, por escribir y llamar la atención sobre el Monseñor Romero y el pueblo salvadoreño. Significa mucho para mí.

He vivido toda mi vida en los Estados Unidos, y durante los primeros cuarenta años de mi vida, sólo conocía El Salvador a través de los medios de comunicación estadounidenses, el cine, y las y los artistas progresivos. Entonces en 1998, comencé una amistad con un inmigrante salvadoreño a quién conocí en una parada de autobús, y ese mismo año comencé una relación de coescucha con una persona salvadoreña que conocí en un taller de RC en México.

Es difícil describir lo que los últimos diecisiete años han revelado para mí. Durante este tiempo he tenido sesiones regularmente con varias personas de El Salvador, he vivido con una persona salvadoreña, he trabajado con gente salvadoreña en mi trabajo del servicio de alimentos, he establecido amistades con personas que vive actualmente en El Salvador, he enseñado Coescucha a una de ellas por teléfono y correo electrónico, y he visitado el país varias veces. Las historias y las perspectivas que la gente salvadoreña ha compartido conmigo han sido poderosas e inestimables, y he desahogado mucho.

Antes de estas experiencias, vivía en una burbuja de información incorrecta, a distancia del resto del mundo. Recién he comenzado a absorber un poquito de la enorme complejidad del planeta en que vivimos, pero mis límites anteriores han sido reemplazados por un sentido de posibilidad.

En El Salvador, los patrones de angustia de la derecha política[3] todavía operan e imponen sobre la gente una versión de la realidad distorsionada y basada en angustias. El hecho de que el Papa Francisco empuje el proceso de canonización del Monseñor Romero hace más difícil esconder la verdad y confundir al pueblo sobre lo que sucedió en el país. Esto tendrá un efecto similar en los Estados Unidos. 

Con amor y solidaridad,

Víctor Nicassio
Los Ángeles, California, Estados Unido
Traducido del inglés por Víctor Nicasio
Translated from English by Victor Nicassio

 Oscar Romero was to the people in Central and South America what Martin Luther King was to people of the global majority and their allies in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

That Pope Francis has beatified Romero is a blessing. It recognizes the struggle of all those in the world, especially in Latin America, who have been oppressed by the world’s owning classes. The pope’s dedication to championing the world’s majority, poor people, is heartening. The beatification of Father Romero reminds all Catholics of what is important and where we stand in regard to speaking out and acting to end all oppression. I am moved by this, and proud of our pope.

Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of Catholics

 1 Oscar Romero was the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture. In 1980 he was assassinated while offering Mass.
2 The beatification of Oscar Romero means the declaration by the pope that Oscar Romero has attained the blessedness of heaven.
3 "Political right" means politically reactionary forces.
4 "Derecha política” significa fuerzas politicamente reaccionarias.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00