Cardinal Gerhard Müller on how Oscar Romero became a shepherd, then a martyr

Revolutionary Saint: The Theological Legacy of Oscar Romero

by Michael Lee, Orbis Books, £19.99

Alongside Martin Luther King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oscar Romero is an icon of the 20th century’s great liberation movements against injustice and oppression. On Sunday, the Catholic Church will raise him to the honour of the altars and rank this very popular saint among the martyrs of Christ.

The archbishop of San Salvador was hit by the bullets of his opponents while celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist. He is now in the truest sense one of those of whom John spoke in the Book of Revelation: “When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw beneath the altar the souls of all those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they had borne to the Word of God” (Revelation 6:9). Oscar Romero followed in word and deed the example of Christ, “who has come not to serve himself but to serve and give his life as ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

The canonisation process for Archbishop Romero was delayed, if not prevented, for a long time because of a false argument around whether his violent death should be interpreted theologically or politically. Politics is about earthly power, but the Church is concerned with the truth of God. As Jesus said to Pilate, “I was born and came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). But the new saint did not die in a struggle for power, rather he sacrificed his life in a struggle for truth.

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