Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Murder in the Cathedral

30 years ago today day Archibishop Oscar Romero was shot at the altar. Like other martyred achbishops in history, he seems to have been appointed on one kind of prospectus, then discovered, in post, a new orientation to his ministry that brought him into solidarity with the poor. He also seems to have discovered there were no simple goodies and baddies, but a mass of complicated, compromised people caught up in evil, struggling for hope. Thus he was able to see the perpetrators as victims too, in their own way.

Romero taught “all history is God’s,” even in the face of appalling violence and evil. His loyal Roman Catholicism wasn’t self-righteous, defensive, paranoid, or institutionally blind: with few illusions about the Church, he loved it enough to long to see it renewed and reformed:
Prophets also denounce the internal sins of the Church. And why shouldn’t they? Bishops, the Pope, priests, papal nuncios, women religious, Catholic schools are formed by men and women, and men and women are sinners and need a prophet to call us to conversion, so that we don’t establish religion as though it were unchangeable. Religion needs prophets. Thank God we have them.
Because it would be very sad if a Church felt that it was in possession of the truth and rejected everything else. A church that only condemns, a Church that only looks at the sin in others, and doesn’t see the beam that it has in its eye, is not the authentic Church of God.
July 8, 1979
And to remind us of the cost of discipleship, this last week has seen the attempted shooting of the Episcopal Church Archbishop in El Salvador, Bishop Martín Barahona. Investigations are ongoing. Plenty for our prayers today then, for Bishop Martin and the community he serves, and the people who still suffer from violence and injustice in Central America.

Romero’s last words were spoken towards the end of the liturgy of a requiem mass on the year’s mind of Doña Sarita Pinto:
That this immolated Body and this Blood sacrificed for humankind may nourish our bodies and our blood in suffering and in pain, like Christ, not for its own sake, but rather to give the concepts of justice and peace to our people. Let us join together, then, intimately in faith and hope in this moment of prayer for Doña Sarita and for ourselves...
and then the shot rang out...


Marjorie said...

WoW1 Cool blog! Really interesting and some pretty amazing reading. Good work.

Ernest said...

Really thoughtful and relevant post. Which shows that the issues he fought to change, are still present in his country.

Really thoughtful commentary on a Church, which has become inward looking and thinking it has all of the answers - and has looked the other way so often in the face of injustice and wrong.

Amazing in the rush to create Saints in the RC Church, he has been ignored - purely on the perception of him as a Liberation Theologist. From what I read of him, he was exactly the opposite, a Holy Man of God - who suffered for his compassion and love and heartfelt belief in people as God's children.

Archbeship Anthony said...

Hi Bishop Alan and all Readers

Reading your article reminded me of when I was learning about the death of Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in Year 7 Humanities. The Kings Soldiers tried to drag him outside but failed so killed in his praying Position and the King was then Ex-communicated by the Pope.

I Think I should make it a Top Priority to Visit The Mother Church of the Province. It sounds like Arch bishop Oscar Romero however, was shot while preparing Communion (Sounds a bit Too Public to me). It also seems unfair that it is those who try to do Good get the Worst Treatment.

Next year I am hoping to increase the number of Christians who make the Pilgrimage to St Albans Cathedral by at least 2. I have to date come up with Four Candidates, even better if they all come. There might even be some People who are currently Not Christians who might attend and convert to Christianity, a lot of prayer will also be need.

I am still on the lookout for any bishops (of any denomination) called Anthony, I have currently found 3, Ely just retired, Hereford and an Orthodox Archbishop but there are too many articles for me to work out weather they are all the same man or not. There are 2 called Alan (You and Bishop of St Albans), 2 called Christopher (Hertford and RC Plymouth, 1 Current called Richard (Bedford). I know there was a Saint Anthony but saints often never know as they are generally not alive when they become a saint.

Many Thanks.

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