On the Canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador
The Christians for National Liberation expresses its heartfelt jubilation on the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero – Archbishop of El Salvador to the Vatican’s roster of Saints. Saint Oscar Romero is the first Salvadoran Saint. He was gunned down during Mass in a hospital chapel a day after telling the Army that “They are killing our own people.” And that “no soldier is obliged to obey an order that is contrary to the will of God. One must not love oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us. And those who fend off danger will lose their lives.” Romero was outspoken during his country’s bloody civil war in the 1980’s, and also the role the United States played in it. In a letter he sent to US President Jimmy Carter in February of 1980, he urged America not to send military aid to El Salvador: “You call yourdelf Christian. If you are really Christian, please stop sending military aid to the military here.”
In the context of the Philippine situation, the militant church people who are actively journeying with the struggling Filipinos for social transformation, for the hoped “new heaven and new earth” see this recognition as a challenge to the churches to be one with the poor, deprived, oppressed and exploited. CNL through the years, and up to the present, has a long list of martyrs, of church people killed, tortured, detained and harassed while serving the poor. CNL members have participated in different forms of struggle, including the armed struggle, and devoted and gave up their lives for the revolution. In the hearts of the ordinary faithful, they, i.e. the martyrs, are saints just like St. Oscar Romero, as they offer their lives for the basic masses. Only that they were not offcially enrolled in the Vatican’s roster of saints.
While celebrating the Eucharist nd holding up the Host, St. Oscar Romero said “May this Host that is immolated, and this Blood which is sacrificed, nourish us so that we can give our body and our blood to suffering and pain as Christ did. Not for ourselves, but rather so as to bring forth a harvest of justice and peace in our land. (Homily, May 24, 1980)” It was through his spoken word that he touched most people of El Salvador, and the pulpit became a microphone of Christ. For us Christians for National Liberation, this is te meaning of holiness in a world of injustice and oppression!
Let us carry on the struggle!