Óscar Romero, Pray For Us

Óscar Romero, Pray For Us March 24, 2010

(August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980)

Here are some relevant quotes from Archbishop Oscar Romero, Voice of the Voiceless: The Four Pastoral Statements and Other Statements. trans. Michael J. Walsh (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000).

Precisely for that reason our church says again that the object of its hope is linked inseparably with social justice, with a real improvement in the lot of the people of El Salvador, and especially an improvement in the lot of the impoverished, landless masses, with defense of their human rights, such as the right of life, to education, to housing, to medicine, and to organize, particularly in the case of those who more easily fall victim to the oppression that strips them of that right. [82]

The most serious aspect of the situation is that rural Salvadorans are being divided by the very thing that most deeply unites them: the same poverty, the same need to survive, to give something to their children, to provide bread, education, and health care for their families. [92]

To the political parties and popular organizations that have been the main concern of this pastoral letter, Christ, the guide of our nations and of history, proclaims that they should learn to put their concern for the poor majority before their own interest, that they should use the political system effectively and with justice, and press honorably and boldly for the beginning of the transformation for which we long. Obey him! [111]

At the base of all violence is social injustice, accurately called ‘structural violence,’ which is our greatest social evil now. As Puebla says, this is ‘the most devastating and humiliating kind of scourge,’ a ‘situation of inhuman poverty’ finding expression in ‘infant mortality, lack of adequate housing, health problems, starvation salaries, unemployment and underemployment, malnutrition, job uncertainty, compulsory mass migrations, etc.’  [169]

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