I am probably not the best person to comment on this topic, but I thought it was relatively appropriate for this week. I was baptized Catholic, and as a child, I grew up with the traditional customs – now as an adult, I don’t follow the religion at all. This is a whole new issue, so here is what I wanted to write about.
As you may have heard, the Vatican Conclave selected a new Pope. A Latino. A Jesuit. Now, I say good on him, finally, a Latino leading a church that is supported by a majority of Latinos anyway, since Latin America makes up most of the Catholics in the world. I am proud to be Latina, and I am very happy they selected him. Not only because he is Latino, but because he is Jesuit and apparently a very humble man (despite what he said about Kristina Krichner’s presidency in 2007 – but I’m willing to forgive him for that for now – hopefully he makes up for it). What I’m getting at is that this reminded me of something…
While I was back in El Salvador, I was lucky enough to see the tomb of somebody very important in the Latin community and also a symbol of human rights and resilience. I went to see the tomb of Monseñor Óscar Romero. For those of you not familiar with him, Monseñor Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador, however, when the civil war broke out – he spoke out loudly against the major violation of human rights, against the government and the military and social injustice taking place in the country. He fought for the victims of political violence and the poor of El Salvador. He died for his beliefs and for supporting the poor and mistreated. He believed that the church should identify itself with the poor – and hence find its own salvation.
He was assassinated while giving a sermon in San Salvador in 1980. When this happened, the world realized of what was going on in this tiny little country, and it got a bit more attention from the UN etc. Anyway.
He was nominated for canonization – which is when they make you a Saint – but this has not been granted. Apparently saving many people from war and speaking out against what you believe is unfair is not a miracle. Hell, he is considered a Saint by many Latinos anyway. He was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 I believe. He is also one of the ‘martyrs’ on one of the walls of Westminster Abbey in London (my photo is below).
The people of El Salvador still love this selfless man. He did everything he could to help his own people, when the government wasn’t doing a thing for them. I think he is a National Hero – and he is certainly treated like one. He still a symbol for the poor and human rights supporters. I just hope Pope Francis will also stand and speak out against the social injustice and help the poor like Monseñor Óscar Romero.