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.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.
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
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...