Testimony regarding Oscar Romero

The Tablet, 30 September 2017, p. 17.

The phrases within accolades […] were omitted by the editor from publication. I keep a record of them here because they add historical context.

Oscar Romero

In 1986 I met Archbishop Emanuele Gerada, [the Nuncio to Pakistan, at his residence in Islamabad. He had been] Nuncio in El Salvador during Romero’s time. [Over lunch] he gave me the following eyewitness account.

“I knew Archbishop Romero well. I visited Romero in 1980[, during the week leading up to his death,] to pass on a warning. ‘I know from reliable sources that the military intend to kill you’, I told him. ‘Stop denouncing them from the pulpit. For your own safety, lie low for a while’. ‘How can I?’, he replied. ‘See how they torture and murder at will. If I don’t speak out, who will?’ On the following Sunday[, the 23 of March,] Romero again publicly called on the army to stop their reign of terror. Next day he was shot during Mass.”

“The good shepherd of El Salvador”, Gerada added. “He cared about people. He died for them.”

JOHN WIJNGAARDS

WIJNGAARDS INSTITUTE FOR CATHOLIC RESEARCH, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire