Oscar Romero and the Role of the Catholic Church in El Salvador

1488 WordsApr 26, 20136 Pages
The Role of Romero vs. the Catholic Church: The Salvadoran Civil War The tragedies of the civil war in El Salvador brought focus to the many issues of oppression, under-representation, and inequality apparent amongst the Salvadoran working class during the later twentieth century. The outbreak of the war began much like civil wars in neighboring countries, consisting of the lower class demanding land and policy reformations, as elites feared the uprisings would result in socialist-geared politics that jeopardized their status. Amidst the fighting between the two social classes, the Catholic Church, as a whole, maintained a somewhat neutrality status and refused to publically support one group over the other. Thus, much opposition to the…show more content…
Author Edward T. Brett argues that Romero had a very “prophetic approach [that] was a highly effective method of leadership during his three-year tenure of office” (Brett 717). He uses the term “prophetic” to refer to the similar ways in which Romero preached his sermons to the underprivileged campesinos in order to also publically represent them, much like Jesus preached to the poor to represent the persecuted Christians. However, the term itself can be problematic because also like Jesus, Romero was tormented by his fellow bishops for catering to the needs of the poor. Not all bishops and clergymen at the time had captured the essence of liberation theology teachings and feared they were too radical to preach to the campesinos. However, Romero believed that the equality of Salvadorans was more important than their integration into the elite society. He focused many of his preachings on the need to put an end to violence and determine a right from wrong. In Romero’s last sermon, just before “he called for soldiers to refuse to obey orders,” (Wood 27) he gave special attention to the need to reinstall distinct human rights within a country in “its own exodus” (Romero 3) and that both groups alike should call for, “respect for the dignity of the person, hope for humanity’s common good, and the transcendence that look before all to God and only

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