July 25, 2021

Archbishop Romero's biographer highlights his petition for social justice in America

Archbishop Romero's biographer highlights his petition for social justice in America

A few days after the canonization of Óscar Arnulfo Romero, his Italian biographer, Giuseppe Morozzo Della Rocca, highlighted in an interview with Efe the message of the archbishop of San Salvador to achieve true social justice in Latin America.

For this historian, who collaborated in the process of the cause of canonization, Romero will be the saint of all America "because both in South America, where there is still a huge difference between rich and poor, his request for true social justice is a message still very current ", but also" can be applied to North America ".

Morozzo Della Rocca also stresses that Romero will be a saint who will have to be revered for the things that "he most felt in his heart: love for the poor, rejection of violence and the search for justice."

"He did not want to be a politician, he was not interested in ideologies, he just wanted to end violence and advocate for justice and this is a message of the most current in Latin America, even in El Salvador," he tells Efe.

The path for canonization, which will be held next Sunday along with that of Paul VI, of what will be "San Romero de América" ​​has not been easy and has had innumerable obstacles due to the opposition of a part of the Curia, which also It caused many dislikes during his life.

The great problem of Romero is that many praised him "for being a revolutionary, but for others being a revolutionary was something very negative", highlights the Italian historian.

"Romero began to suffer some difficulties with Rome immediately after being appointed bishop in 1977 and for him it was a drama." The relationship with the nuncio was terrible, forcing him to come to Rome to speak with the Pope. : 'You are the one in charge', with which you returned to El Salvador happy and reassured, but nothing changed, "explains his biographer.

The then prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, the powerful Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, "who had ties to the Salvadoran oligarchy," began a campaign against him that lasted until his assassination in 1980.

"Romero was the object of defamation and slander on the part of some circles of the Salvadoran oligarchy that sent some bishops of Rome inaccurate information.The most widespread accusation was to be communist, Marxist, subversive," says the Italian historian.

While the ecclesiastical part, he relates, "accused him of not being orthodox and of saying things contrary to the teaching of the Church and even some claimed that he was weak-minded and that he was being plagiarized by the Spanish Jesuits in the country."

Throughout his life, Romero lived "bitter" for his relationship with the Vatican, the talks were "hard, unpleasant" and even Baggio refused to see him on a trip he made to Rome.

"He suffered because he did not understand why he did not approve what he did, because in all his preachings he constantly quoted the popes, he was very close to Rome, he had studied for 6 years and although he felt deeply Latin American, he also felt part of Rome ", says the author of several books about the next saint.

After his assassination, on March 24, 1980, by an ultra-right commando while officiating in the chapel of the Divina Providencia cancer hospital in San Salvador, in the days before the outbreak of the Salvadoran armed conflict (1980-1992), the opposition continued during his beatification process.

"Considered as a flag of movements of the left and the theology of the Liberation, the result was that its process found people like the Colombian cardinal, Alfonso López Trujillo, who blocked it for years," he says.

The Italian biographer who has collected numerous testimonies close to Romero also provides some notes of the archbishop's personality as his "strong character", but also moments of "doubt and fragility" which even made him "go to a psychologist".

"He had great faith and spent whole nights praying before making a decision, but when he took it he was adamant, people who knew him said he was stubborn, but with great courage," he reveals.

This historian, collaborator of the postulator of the cause, Bishop Vicenzo Paglia, explains that Romero "had already counted on the possibility that something would happen to him even if he were killed, but he felt a huge responsibility" that was superior to his life.

By Cristina Cabrejas


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