Archbishop Oscar Romero Essay

1448 words - 6 pages

Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador on August 15, 1917. He was the second of seven children born to parents Santos Romero and Guadalupe de Jesus Santos. At the age of twelve, his parents were not able to afford his education and therefore apprenticed him to a carpenter. Oscar trained to be a carpenter, but he always knew he wanted to be a priest. When he was just thirteen years old, he left home to study at a seminary in the city of San Miguel (Kellogg). There he studied for seven years, and left in 1937 for the national seminary, which was run by the Jesuits in San Salvador. He later went to Rome and studied Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. ...view middle of the document...

During the time of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the country of El Salvador had conflicts between the rich and the poor. In the 1970s, disappointed with societal inequalities, a poor economy, and the repressive measures of dictatorship led to civil war (Infed). The war was between the government, which was ruled by the right-wing National Conciliation Party since 1961, and the leftist antigovernment guerrilla units, whose leading group was the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front. The U.S. intervened on the side of the military dictatorship, and between the years of 1979 and 1981, an estimate of about 30,000 people were killed by right-wing death squads, who were supported by the military. Jose Napoleon Duarte, a civilian who was president from 1984 to 1989, offered an alternative to the political extremes of right and left, but he was unable to end the war. In 1989, Alfredo Cristiani of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance was elected and on Jan. 16, 1992, the government signed a peace treaty with the guerrilla forces, formally ending the twelve-year civil war that had killed 75,000.
When Archbishop Romero was in El Salvador, the country was in a state of turmoil. There were uprisings against the government, which sparked oppression. Once he became Archbishop, the government began to turn on the Church. The government arrested priests, sent them to other countries, and killed those who protested against the leadership. Romero was always reluctant about getting involved in politics, but the fact that people were dying everyday made it hard for him not to get involved. Archbishop Oscar Romero witnessed ongoing violations of human rights and started a group, which spoke out on behalf of the poor and victims of the country’s civil war. He was the voice of the voiceless and spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture. Romero believed that the military was wrong in the things they did. He began to be recognized internationally and was admired by many, but the government began to punish people who were found with bibles as Romero began to speak out (United Nations). Romero sought for peace with many, but his pleas were ignored. He continued to plead for the end of violence and oppression, but he only made it worse for himself. Archbishop Romero began to receive death threats and was a target for the Salvadoran government. Even when he was threatened, he continued to speak out against what was happening in the country of El Salvador. His human rights campaign in El Salvador won him many admirers and even a Novel Peace Prize nomination, but he also gained several enemies. On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated while he was performing a funeral mass in the Chapel of Divine Providence Hospital. More than 50,000 people attended his funeral, but his funeral was disrupted by an attack, which left forty mourners dead and over a hundred wounded (Kelloggs). The death and funeral of Archbishop Oscar...

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