Oscar Romero

Call to Conscience

By Sam Brickweg

Oscar Romero, during his life, was a call to conscience. He became the Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, amid growing tensions that would soon set the stage for the El Salvadoran Civil War. Archbishop Romero was a voice for the poor and spoke out against the repression and massacres perpetrated by the government. This eventually led to his assassination on March 24, 1980.

During my time on the El Salvador BreakOut sponsored by the Center for Social Concern, Oscar Romero grew to mean more than his biography. Our group from UD listened to stories from massacre survivors, people whose children were taken by the government, and some people whose family members disappeared. In a time of great darkness Romero gave these people hope! Romero bravely confessed a Gospel of redeeming love, capable of freeing all people from sin. It was this call to a greater life and recognition of human dignity that unsettled the powerful and infused vitality into the movement of the poor.

The call of Romero was not exclusive; his Sunday homilies were broadcast to the entire country, heard by guerilla and government alike. In his final Sunday homily he made a call specifically to all troops to stop the repression, to stop the killing. Romero’s call to stop repression was echoed through the people we met and even to this day Romero serves as a call to our conscience reminding us to fight for the dignity of all people and against repression in our lives. Romero exemplifies the persistent love of Christ, which daily awakens our consciences and calls us to love all people, especially the poor. 

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