Romero and the church of the poor

Monseñor Romero was a man of the church. His episcopal motto, taken from St. Ignatius Loyola, was “Sentir con the Iglesia” – “To be of one mind and heart with the church.”

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But how that was worked out in his life is, I believe, part of the mystery of the conversions that led a humble man with a great love for the poor from his youth to become an outspoken advocate of the poor, “la voz de los sin voz” – “the voice of the voiceless.”

As archbishop he did not fail to speak against all that he perceived as sin and he suffered for that – even from his brother bishops who did not understand the political dimensions of the Gospel.

In his homily of April 16, 1978, he spoke forthrightly of what the church should avoid.

A church that doesn’t provoke any crises,
a gospel that doesn’t unsettle,
a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin,
a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin
of the society in which it is being proclaimed –

what gospel is that?
Very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone,
that’s the way many would like preaching to be.
Those preachers who avoid every thorny matter
so as not to be harassed,
so as not to have conflicts and difficulties,
do not light up the world they live in.
They don’t have Peter’s courage, who told that crowd
where the bloodstained hands still were that had killed Christ:
“You killed him!”
Even though the charge could cost him his life as well, he made it.
The gospel is courageous;
it’s the good news
of him who came to take away the world’s sins.

 

Lord, make of us a courageous church, unafraid to speak the truth in love.

 

 

 

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