Thursday, August 27, 2015

Daily Theology blog partnership





Google Translate:
Super Martyrio is proud to announce that it has become a ‘blog partner’ of Daily Theology.  In practical terms, this means we will occasionally repost one another’s posts or will simultaneously post things in both blogs.  In a deeper sense, this partnering is a recognition of our mutual interest in exploring theological issues in relation to human experience—in this case, the life of Oscar Romero and the poor—to approach topics through various theological disciplines, and to promote good blogging practices in research, writing, and reporting.

For the readers of both blogs, I hope the partnership will translate into a seamless but real improvement in the depth and perspective brought to bear on what we cover.  For the bloggers, I hope the partnership will expand our ability to provide broader perspectives and “team coverage” to relevant issues, including the impact of Blessed Romero on the Church and the culture, and the annual commemorations of his anniversary-feast day.  During the beatification of Archbishop Romero in May, Daily Theology had three of its contributors on scene in San Salvador.  I was there too.  I hope that at the canonization, we will be there together.

Finally, this partnership continues the fine tradition of joining with others in pursuit of common objectives. Blessed Oscar Romero took up and gave strength to this tradition.  Among the important principles that formed his ministry were communion, accompaniment, solidarity.  If we want to follow the path of goodness then we must enter into solidarity with Christ to uproot from our hearts those evil instincts that lead us to violence and crime,” he said.  Then he added: “We must also enter into solidarity with those who share these same ideals concerning life and love and peace.”  (November 14, 1977 sermon.)  When we can, we should work together.

Here’s to the blog partners!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Romero birthday a chance to take stock


Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador: pilgrims overrun the town where Blessed Oscar Romero was born.  More pictures here.
Google Translate:

If there was such a thing as a follow-up on how well a beatification was taking after a holy person was formally raised to the altars by the Church, this past weekend’s commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero of El Salvador, beatified this past May, could be the model.  For Blessed Romero, the diagnosis is excellent, with numerous indicators all pointing to a widespread recognition and acceptance, albeit not with entirely universal acclaim (though this is no surprise, as even St. John Paul II has his detractors).

Three things stand out about the way Archbishop Romero was recalled for his 98th birthday.  First, his beatification is being quickly incorporated into the popular devotional practices of his native El Salvador.  Second, his memory is also being easily assimilated into the calendar of the universal church.  And third, this past weekend’s 98th birthday celebrations indicate that the upcoming centennial of his birth in 2017 is likely to shape up as a significant Catholic event.

Recapping commemorative events this week, although commemorations were widespread, the events organized in three particular cities stand out: (1) in Ciudad Barrios, where Blessed Romero was born on August 15, 1917; (2) in San Salvador, where he served as Archbishop from 1977-1980 and where he died a martyr on March 24, 1980; and (3) finally and, perhaps, unexpectedly, in London, England, where he has acquired a following in no small part due to the work of the Romero Trust.
San Salvador: faithful pack the San Salvador Cathedral for a Saturday noon Mass.  More pictures here.

In chronological order, things started off in London, where a commemorative/thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.  The cardinal donned the special vestments used at the May 23th, 2015 beatification ceremony in San Salvador to celebrate Mass at St. George’s Cathedral/Southwark.  Following the Mass, the faithful venerated Romero relics kept at the Cathedral since 2013.  A reception, complete with a birthday cake, followed the service, and was attended, among others, by Bishop John Rawsthorne (Retired), Romero Trust Chairman Julian Filochowski, and Curator Jan Graffius of Stonybrook College, who preserved Romero’s relics, including the ones used in his beatification.

The largest celebrations, not surprisingly, were in San Salvador, where Archbishop Romero was feted with a morning serenade at his graveside in the Cathedral Crypt on Saturday, August 15.  This was followed by a packed noon Mass at the Cathedral, and by a concert and ecumenical service at a central San Salvador plaza.  The Salvadoran Church also announced the promulgation of a new directive, requiring Blessed Romero to be invoked during the Eucharistic Prayers during the Canon of the Mass.  The government human rights onbudsman issued a decree certifying Blessed Romero as the “Premier Human Right Champion in El Salvador” (he explained in a Tweet that “Archbishop Oscar Romero has been the most important defender of human rights in the history of El Salvador”).  Additionally, Romero’s relics continued to tour the country, while two San Salvador parishes unveiled Romero mosaics.  On Sunday, there was another Mass, in Romero’s Crypt, which included another cake-cutting.

In Ciudad Barrios, in eastern San Salvador, where Romero was born 98 years ago, there were droves of pilgrims, exhibits, and another commemorative Mass, led by the Papal Nuncio to El Salvador, Archbishop Leon Kalenga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Surviving Romero brother Tiberio appeared at an event at the Romero Museum there, while younger brother Gaspar appeared in a San Salvador church.

Finally, on the Twittersphere, numerous messages were published observing the anniversary of Romero’s birthday, including countless retweets.  Among the most significant, were those by the President of El Salvador: “Archbishop Romero unites Salvadoran society; he always fought for peace, he is a light, he is a hope to work for tranquility in our country.”  The immediate past president tweeted: “Today we mark 98 years from the birth of Archbishop Romero.  I join the celebration the people make in honor of his memory.”  Countless Catholic tweets correlated Romero’s milestone to the Bicentenary of St. John Bosco, to the anniversary of the immolation of St. Maximilian Kolbe and, of course, to the Feast of the Assumption.
London, England: Thanksgiving Mass at St. George's Cathedral.  More pictures here.

The incorporation of Romero’s beatification into popular Salvadoran practices continues apace. The San Salvador Archdiocese directive to invoke Blessed Romero during the Canon of the Mass is being welcome by the faithful, and the nationwide tours of Blessed Romero’s relic is continually exposing the faithful to the spirituality of Blessed Romero, and every indication seems to be that they are reacting with profound fervor.  That devotion was seen when Romero’s relics were incorporated into the national celebration of the Transfiguration of the Lord earlier in the month, and with the reverence with which the relics are being received around the country.

The accommodation of Romero’s birthday in the global church calendar also has been striking.  Romero’s birthday had already been a prominent feature of Romero commemorations in his native El Salvador—especially in Ciudad Barrios, the town in which he was born.  It was here that Romero’s birth was first commemorated, quite apart from his March death.  However, to see Romero’s birth universally recalled is striking, as is the correlation of his birth with other Catholic commemorations, such as Don Bosco, the Assumption and Maximillian Kolbe.

Finally, the 98th birthday celebrations point up the importance of the upcoming centennial celebrations in 2017.  In El Salvador, a countdown to the centennial began in 2014, kicking off a three-year Triennium to the 100 anniversary of his birth: 2014-2015 commemorated “Romero, Man of God;” 2015-2016 commemorates “Romero, Man of the Church;” and 2016-2017 will commemorate “Romero, Man of the Poor.”  The centennial, once thought to present an opportunity to revive the then-floundering beatification cause will, post-beatification, present the next great opportunity to take stock of Romero, the man, the saint, and the legend of his sainthood.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blessed Romero, born 98 years ago


The Romero family tree: dad Santos (left), grandmother Guadalupe (top), the young family (little Oscar inside red circle).

It is August 1917. World War I is ravaging Europe. Pope Benedict XV has issued a seven-point plan, contained in his apostolic exhortation «Dès le Début», published on August 1, seeking peace. These are the days when the pope is a prisoner in the Vatican. In Fatima, the Blessed Lady appears to a group of children. The Church is recognizable, but different from today: Neither John Paul II nor Benedict XVI, nor much less Pope Francis, have even been born. In El Salvador, Dr. Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar is the first Archbishop of San Salvador.

In a small highland village called Ciudad Barrios, to the east of El Salvador, a child is born, on August 15 1917. Ciudad Barrios is little more than a small hamlet. Education at the village school ends at the third grade. There are no paved roads that reach Ciudad Barrios. To go to the market in San Miguel, the largest nearby city, the Romero children must walk all night, arriving the following morning.

The newborn’s father is Santos Romero (August 13, 1883 - August 14, 1937), son of Julio Romero and Gertrudis Garcilazo. The mother is Guadalupe de Jesús Galdámez de Romero (June 2, 1888 - August 2, 1961), whom friends call “Niña Jesús” (the Salvadoran familiar term “niña” is akin to saying “Miss”). Her parents are José Ángel Galdámez (who died that same year of 1917) and Guadalupe Portillo de Galdámez.

The child born of Guadalupe and Santos will take as his middle name, the name of the saint of the day, Saint Arnulf—following good Catholics customs of the time. His full name will become well known in due course. Indeed, 98 years after his birth, Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez is recognized as “the most universal Salvadoran.”

When Pope Francis wanted to express his wishes for El Salvador to overcome criminal violence and social problems at the Angelus last Sunday, he said: “I encourage the dear people of El Salvador to continue united in hope, and I urge everyone to pray that justice and peace will flourish again in the land of Blessed Oscar Romero.”

Later the same week, the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, visited the Romero’s tomb. This is normal for a tomb that has been visited by Pope John Paul II, by President Obama, and many other international leaders as well as countless Salvadoran peasants.

But it was all very different when little Oscar was born on the Feast of the Assumption, 98 years ago.
President Bachelet.

Beato Romero, nacido hace 98 años


El árbol de la familia Romero: papá Santos (izquierda), la abuela Guadalupe (arriba), la joven familia (Oscarito en el círculo rojo).

Es agosto de 1917. La primera guerra mundial está devastando Europa. El Papa Benedicto XV ha publicado un plan de siete puntos, plasmado en su exhortación apostólica «Dès le Début», emitida el 1° de agosto, para buscar la paz. Estos son días en que el Papa era un prisionero en el Vaticano. En Fátima, la Santísima Virgen aparece a un grupo de niños. La Iglesia es reconocible, pero diferente a la actual: Ni Juan Pablo II ni Benedicto XVI, ni mucho menos el Papa Francisco, habían nacido todavía. En El Salvador, el Dr. Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar es el primer Arzobispo de San Salvador.

En una pequeña aldea elevada llamada Ciudad Barrios, al oriente de El Salvador, un niño nace, el 15 de agosto de 1917. Ciudad Barrios es poco más que un caserío. La formación en la escuela del pueblito termina en el tercer grado. No hay carreteras pavimentadas que lleguen a Ciudad Barrios. Para ir al mercado de San Miguel, la ciudad grande más cercana, los niños Romero deben caminar toda la noche, logrando llegar la mañana siguiente.

El padre del recién nacido se llama Santos Romero (13 de agosto 1883 - 14 de agosto 1937), hijo de Julio Romero y Gertrudis Garcilazo. La madre es Guadalupe de Jesús Galdámez de Romero (2 de junio 1888 - 2 de agosto 1961), a quien sus amigos llaman la “Niña Jesús” (el término familiar salvadoreño “niña” es como decir “señorita”). Los padres de Guadalupe son José Ángel Galdámez (que murió ese mismo año de 1917) y Guadalupe Portillo de Galdámez.

El niño nacido de Guadalupe y Santos tendrá como segundo nombre, el nombre del santo del día, San Arnulfo, siguiendo las buenas costumbres católicas de la época. Su nombre completo llegará a ser conocido en su momento. De hecho, 98 años después de su nacimiento, Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez se ha convertido en “el salvadoreño más universal”.

Cuando el Papa Francisco quiso expresar sus deseos para El Salvador de superar la violencia criminal y problemas sociales en el Angelus del domingo pasado, dijo: “Animo al querido pueblo salvadoreño a permanecer unido en la esperanza, y exhorto a todos a rezar para que en la tierra del Beato Óscar Romero renazca la justicia y la paz”.

Después durante la misma semana, la presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, visitó la tumba de Romero. Esto es normal para una tumba que ha sido visitada por el Papa Juan Pablo II, por el presidente Obama, y ​​muchos otros líderes internacionales y tantos campesinos salvadoreños.

Pero todo era muy distinto cuando Oscarito nació en la Fiesta de la Asunción de hace 98 años.
Presidenta Bachelet.

Beato Romero, nato 98 anni fa


L'albero Romero famiglia: papà Santos (a sinistra), la nonna Guadalupe (in alto), la giovane famiglia (Oscarino in cerchio rosso).

È agosto del 1917.  La Prima Guerra Mondiale sta devastando Europa.  Papa Benedetto XV ha pubblicato un piano in sette punti, contenuto nella sua Esortazione Apostolica «Dès le Début», publicata il primo di agosto, per cercare la pace.  Questi sono i giorni in cui il Papa era un prigioniero in Vaticano. A Fatima, la Madonna appare a un gruppo di bambini. La Chiesa è riconoscibile, ma diversa da quella attuale: Né Papa Giovanni Paolo II, né Benedetto XVI, nè tanto meno Papa Francesco, sono stati ancora nati.  In El Salvador, il dottor Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar è il primo Arcivescovo di San Salvador.

In un piccolo borgo di altopiano chiamato Ciudad Barrios, ad est di El Salvador, nasce un bambino, 15 agosto 1917.  Ciudad Barrios è poco più di un paesello.  La formazione presso la scuola del villaggio si conclude al terzo grado.  Non ci sono strade asfaltate che raggiungono Ciudad Barrios.  Per andare nel mercato di San Miguel, la città grande vicina, i bambini Romero devono fare una passeggiata di tutta la notte, arrivando alla mattina.

Il padre del neonato si chiama Santos Romero (13 Agosto 1883 - 14 Agosto 1937), figlio di Julio Romero e Gertrudis Garcilazo.  La madre è Guadalupe de Jesús Galdamez de Romero (2 Giugno 1888 - 2 Agosto 1961), ma gli amici la chiamano “Niña Jesús” (il termine familiare salvadoregno “niña” è così come dire “signorina”).  I genitori di Guadalupe sono José Ángel Galdamez (morto questo stesso anno di 1917) e Guadalupe Portillo de Galdamez.

Il bambino nato da Santos e Guadalupe avrà come secondo nome, il nome del santo del giorno, Sant’Arnolfo—seguendo i buoni costumi cattolici dell’epoca.  Il suo nome completo sarà ben noto a debito tempo.  Infatti, 98 anni dopo la sua nascita, Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez è diventato “il salvadoregno più universale”.

Quando Papa Francesco ha voluto esprimere i suoi desideri per El Salvador di superare la violenza criminale e problemi sociali all’Angelus della Domenica scorsa, ha detto: “Incoraggio il caro popolo salvadoregno a perseverare unito nella speranza, ed esorto tutti a pregare affinché nella terra del beato Oscar Romero rifioriscano la giustizia e la pace”.

Successivamente la stessa settimana, la presidente del Cile, Michelle Bachelet, ha visitato la tomba di Romero.  Questo è normale per una tomba che è stato visitata da Papa Wojtyla, dal presidente Obama, e molti altri leader internazionali e tanti contadini salvadoregni.

Ma tutto era molto diverso quando Oscarino è nato in ferragosto, 98 anni fa.
Presidente Bachelet.

Monday, August 03, 2015




Super Martyrio is publishing for the first time in English, Spanish and Italian the first national homily of Blessed Oscar Romero. It was delivered on August 6, 1976, six months before his appointment as archbishop of San Salvador, for the feast of the Transfiguration, when Salvadorans celebrate their patron, the Divine Savior of the World.
Thirty-nine years later, El Salvador yearns for its great transfiguration from crime and violence to peace and social harmony. Many saw (albeit fleetingly) the model of coexistence so desired during Romero’s beatification in May, when unity, the spirit of volunteerism, and great positivity prevailed for the historic event and gang murders stopped for the event weekend. This Romero homily imposes the same contrast between “what is” and “what could be.”
The Romero that speaks to us in this homily is a moderate traditionalist who still holds back the bold denunciations that will characterize the coming years, but we sense that he is on the verge of taking a giant and decisive step in his ministry. He speaks of Christ “the Liberator.” Most importantly, Romero paints the picture that his beatification embodied for a brief shining moment: of a holy people, who stands out by its nobility and asserts its spiritual heritage from Christ the Savior himself. (Therefore, it is so appropriate that Romero’s beatification took place alongside the Monument to the Divine Savior—Church authorities announced this weekend that Romero’s relics would accompany this week’s patronal celebrations.)
While Romero's beatification gave us a foretaste of the social peace that is possible, Blessed Romero from 1976 preaches to us about how to make it a permanent reality. It is “in the heart of our own faith and our authentic national spirituality,” Romero tells his countrymen, “that we can find the light and the force that the Divine Savior offers for the effective liberation, promotion and transformation of our country.”
Romero appeals to nationalism and civic duty to spiritedly encourage a return to the values ​​of old Christendom and Catholic civilization as a model that should be adapted to the requirements of the Salvadoran reality, but one which presents a viable alternative to the projects of modernity: “We do not have to go begging to other, atheistic sources, or to ones of non-transcendent inspiration, for the concept of our liberation.  From our national origin, God has favored us with His true philosophy.”
Now, let us read about God’s plan to transfigure El Salvador and the world as related by Blessed Oscar Romero in this previously unpublished homily.  It may well disclose a message that is applicable to the El Salvador and the world of today.
The Divine Savior:
Who He is, what His liberation consists of, and how His work reaches us.
Blessed Oscar A. Romero
August 6, 1976

I.          Who the Divine Savior Is

A Cradle Song

It occurs to me that the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which we have heard proclaimed has, for us Salvadorans, the nostalgic sweetness of a cradle song. And in the light of that Gospel, our August celebrations recover the sentiment of a return to our birth home.

Yes; thus were we born into Christian civilization under the sign of the Transfiguration of the Lord. His divine face, bright as the sun, and the snowy brilliance of his vestments, were the first Christian rays that illuminated the opulent geography of our fatherland upon its emergence from its cloudy prehistory, when, in 1528, Captain Pedro de Alvarado, after putting his conquest under the protection of the Blessed Trinity, founded the Capital of our Republic and baptized it with the incomparable name of the Holy Savior (“San Salvador”).

Commenting on the privileged origin of our Christian history amidst the splendor of our first National Eucharistic Congress, the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, observed with theological wisdom: “We would like to think that it was not only the wholesome mercy of Pedro de Alvarado which, in the dawn of the Conquest, so exaltedly baptized you, but more than anything it was the very Providence of God.” (H.H. Pius XII’s Radio message on the occasion of the closing of the 1st National Eucharistic Congress of the Republic of El Salvador, November 26, 1942.)

A Baptism Gift

Indeed, it was the very Providence of God, which baptized and imprinted this unknown land with an indelible and unmistakable character through the splendor of the most luminous manifestation of the Gospel.

It was a Gospel that came to us enriched with the exquisite essence of Eastern theology and liturgy, and echoing with the prayers, the skirmishes and the victories of the Church that was the creator and guardian of Western civilization. For, this August 6 celebration that Spain bequeathed to us was first celebrated with great splendor as the principal summer feast during the Fifth Century in the East in honor of Christ the King, and Pope Callixtus III adopted it in 1457 as a movable feast in Western liturgy, to celebrate the Christian victory at the Battle of Belgrade, which drove back the Islamic incursions.

This is the way God’s providence has prepared the long road for the Church to reach us to begin its task of evangelization here, under the sign of the Transfiguration.  It is a sign of fullness, the fullness of Christian Kerygma (proclamation) and catechesis, delivered to us with the splendid vision of Mt. Tabor. For in it God presents us, in a wonderful synthesis, like a seed or fermentation, the complete revelation of His divine plan to save to the world through the Son of His contentment. For that reason, I believe that the best service an humble preacher of the Gospel can pay the fatherland on this solemn occasion in which the family returns fondly, is to review and to confront, whether our religious and national reality is being built on the three solid coordinates of the Christian faith that are illuminated with the national mystery of the feast of our patron: Christ, His Salvation, and His Church.

Only a divine being could gain the standing and merit of God for the human pain and blood that would be the price of redemption.

The Divine Savior is the optimal man to introduce into this luminous picture of the Transfiguration. In Him, God reveals through the divine language of signs, His merciful purpose to save the world by means of His beloved Son. Moses and Elijah represent the promises and prophecies through which God had heralded and prepared humanity’s great liberation with portentous messages and actions. Peter, James and John will witnesses the fulfillment of God’s promises in their lifetimes.  They are there, tempering their faith and their hope, to attend and to attest to the world to the painful scandal of the Cross.  For that reason, when the vision ends, the Lord swears them to secrecy regarding the revelation, “until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” (Mark 9:9.) In an undetected paradox, the luminous vision of Mt. Tabor proves a tragic foreshadowing of the bloody Transfiguration at Calvary.

Only His Liberation Saves Us

This is how our country received, together with name of God (“El Salvador;” The Savior), the authentic revelation of God’s true salvation through the Prophets and the Apostles. We do not have to go begging to other, atheistic sources, or to ones of non-transcendent inspiration, for the concept of our liberation.  From our national origin, God has favored us with His true philosophy. And it is there, in the heart of our own faith and of our authentic national spirituality, that we can find the light and the force that the Divine Savior offers for the effective liberation, promotion and transformation of our country.

II.         What His Liberation Consists of

What, then, is the liberation that the Divine Savior of mankind sponsors and promotes?

The authorized depositories of His thought, the Pope and the Bishops, met two years ago, in the world-wide Synod of 1974, to hold up that divine thought against the tragic reality of our present world, “with a pastoral accent”—Paul  VI remarks in his exhortation regarding the evangelization of the current world— “resonant with the voice of the millions of sons and daughters of the Church who make up those peoples [of the Third World]. Peoples, as we know, engaged with all their energy in the effort and struggle to overcome everything which condemns them to remain on the margin of life: famine, chronic disease, illiteracy, poverty, injustices in international relations and especially in commercial exchanges, situations of economic and cultural neo-colonialism sometimes as cruel as the old political colonialism,” etc. (EVANGELII NUNTIANDI, 30)

And the Bishops recognized the duty of the Church to denounce, and to help bring about the complete liberation of these millions of human beings. But the same Bishops offered at that historical meeting, “the enlightening principles for a proper understanding of the importance and profound meaning of liberation, such as it was proclaimed and achieved by Jesus of Nazareth and such as it is preached by the Church” (Ibid., 31.)

The liberation of Christ and of His Church is not reduced to the dimension of a purely temporal project. It does not reduce its objectives to an anthropocentric perspective: to a material well-being or to initiatives of a political or social, economic or cultural order, only.

Much less can it be a liberation that supports or is supported by violence.

“[I]f this were so, the Church would lose her fundamental meaning. Her message of liberation would no longer have any originality and would easily be open to monopolization and manipulation by ideological systems and political parties. She would have no more authority to proclaim freedom as in the name of God.” (Ibid., 32)

The liberation of Christ and of His Church is, by contrast, one that includes the whole person, in all of one’s dimensions, including in our openness to the Absolute, which is God.   And in “associating herself with those who are working ... for [liberation], the Church [does not] restrict her mission only to the religious field and dissociate herself from man's temporal problems. [But] she reaffirms the primacy of her spiritual vocation and [does not] replace the proclamation of the kingdom by the proclamation of forms of human liberation”. (Ibid., 34.)  Her best contribution is to announce salvation in Jesus Christ; a salvation that requires conversion in one’s heart. The Church agrees that is necessary to change existing structures for others that are more humane and more just; but she is convinced that these new structures will “soon become inhuman if the inhuman inclinations of the human heart are not made wholesome, if those who live in these structures or who rule them do not undergo a conversion of heart and of outlook.”  (Ibid., 36.)

Arbitrator of Our Conflicts

How beautiful this 6th of August would be if, upon leaving this family home, after sharing a sincere return to our origins, we would carry in our souls an intention to understand each other better from the place where the hand of Providence has placed each one of us. If the men of the government and the shepherds of the Church, if capital and labor, if city dwellers and those from the countryside, government undertakings and those of private enterprise [applause]… If we would all really let the Divine Savior of the World, the Patron of the Nation, provide the national transformation that we urgently need.  If He would be the inspiration for and the referee of all our conflicts, be the protagonist of all the national transformations that we urgently need, for an integral liberation that only He can furnish.

III.        How His Salvation reaches us

Christ Lives in His Church

Christ lives. And he is bringing about the liberation of the world. The Church, founded by Him, maintains the mystery of His incarnation and His salvation among the nations. The light of Christ shines within the Church.

The Transfiguration story also reveals to us the mystery of the Church and its mission in our national history. Saint Peter, the first Pope chosen for this newborn Church, describes to us the mission of the Church in the poetic symbol of a lamp, which carries the light of the prophets.  When it is put in contact with the Christ of the Transfiguration, this lamp becomes more luminous because the fulfillment of all the prophets is inherent in Him, and he takes it to the paths of men “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

Its mission is “to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church.” (LUMEN GENTIUM, 1). She brings us to the true Christ. We cannot forget that the 6th of August is an encounter of our country with God made possible thanks to the Church. The creed of the Church is the starting point of our faith. We have received our faith in Jesus from the Church—not from philosophical or physiological criticism.  Any other Christ and any other liberation that is not the Christ and is not the liberation preached by the Church, will always be an illusory Christ and liberation, as “historic” as some wish to call them.  As St. Paul told the Galatians in the name of the Church, “If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1:9.) 

Visible sign of Our Encounter with Him

And, at the same time that the Church is the bearer of the true light of Christ, she also is the goal of the evangelization of the peoples. Because Evangelization preaches, “the search for God Himself through prayer ... but also through communion with the visible sign of the encounter with God which is the Church of Jesus Christ; and this communion in its turn is expressed by the application of those other signs of Christ living and acting in the Church which are the sacraments.” (EVANGELII NUNTIANDI, 28)  Thus, Paul VI tears down the dichotomy in certain pastoral teachings of Protestant inspiration which purports to juxtapose “evangelization” against “sacramentalization,” in his masterful exhortation, EVANGELII NUNTIANDI.

Our return to the source has also brought to us to this happy encounter with our Church, which has brought us like a gift from Providence this divine relation so laden with meaning, and offers us a safe haven in our encounter with the living and redeeming Christ. This is a challenge to us who represent that Church—Bishops, priests and religious—to become better suited every day for a vocation which has the transcendental mission of making the face of the Church shine on our mother country. The worst misfortune would be to conceal that brilliance, camouflaging or showing our glorious priestly and religious identity to be victims of an internal crisis. This moment also inspires honesty and confidence to approach the Government and the People, to repeat a demand of the Church, formulated this way by the Second Vatican Council: “[The Church] asks of you only liberty, the liberty to believe and to preach her faith, the freedom to love her God and serve Him, the freedom to live and to bring to men her message of life. Do not fear her. She is made after the image of her Master, whose mysterious action does not interfere with your prerogatives but heals everything human of its fatal weakness, transfigures it and fills it with hope, truth and beauty.” (TO THE RULERS—Messages of the Council).

As a single heart

In truth, more than the mercy of Pedro de Alvarado, it was the Providence of God which so exaltedly baptized us with the name of The Savior (“El Salvador”). And, more than a name, He gave us a message which is the summary of His divine plan to save to the world, in His beloved Son. For that reason, these August celebrations seem to us like a convivial return to the family house, of one who leans over to imprint a kiss of faith, of gratitude and of renewed commitment, on the cradle of one’s childhood and on the font of one’s Baptism. The shepherds of the Church, the Supreme Authorities of the State who ennoble themselves by leading their People in this tribute to the Celestial Patron, and the whole People of El Salvador, as if forming a single heart and a single voice that prays and adores (which is the heart of the nation), fall to their knees before the altar of this national Eucharist, prepared to receive a new sacrifice for His people and the ratification of His merciful alliance with us, from the DIVINE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.




Súper Martyrio publica por primera vez en español, inglés e italiano la primera homilía nacional del Beato Óscar Romero.  Fue pronunciada el 6 de agosto de 1976, seis meses antes de su nombramiento como arzobispo, en el marco de la fiesta de la Transfiguración, cuando los salvadoreños celebran a su patrono el Divino Salvador del Mundo.
Treinta y nueve años después, El Salvador añora su gran transfiguración de la violencia y la criminalidad a la paz y armonía social.  Muchos vimos un modelo (aunque fugaz) de la anhelada convivencia durante la beatificación de Romero, cuando prevalecieron la unidad, el espíritu del voluntariado, y un gran positivismo por aquel histórico evento, entre un fin de semana sin asesinatos de las maras.  Esta homilía de Romero nos impone el mismo contraste entre lo que es y lo que podría ser.
Nos habla un Romero moderado y tradicionalista que todavía se frena de las denuncias más audaces que haría en los próximos años, pero bien presentimos que está al borde de dar un paso gigante y decisivo en su ministerio.  Ya nos habla de Cristo Liberador.  Lo más importante: Romero nos pinta ese cuadro que su beatificación encarnó siquiera por un vago instante: de un pueblo santo, que brilla por su propia nobleza y se hace valer por su herencia espiritual del mismo Cristo Salvador.  (Por tanto, es tan apropiado que la beatificación de Romero haya tenido lugar a la par del Monumento al Divino Salvador—las autoridades de la Iglesia anunciaron este fin de semana que las reliquias de Romero acompañarán las celebraciones patronales de esta semana.)
Si bien la beatificación de Romero nos dio un anticipo de la paz social que podría existir, el Beato Romero de 1976 nos predica como hacerla una permanente realidad.  Es “en la entraña de nuestra propia fe y de nuestra auténtica espiritualidad nacional”—Romero predica a sus paisanos—“donde podemos encontrar las luces y la fuerza, que el Divino Salvador ofrece para eficaces liberaciones y promociones y transformaciones de nuestro país”.
Romero interpela al nacionalismo y al sentido cívico para exhortar con fervor a favor de un regreso a los valores de la cristiandad latina o civilización católica, como un modelo que tendría que ser adecuado a las exigencias de la realidad salvadoreña, pero uno que presenta una verdadera alternativa a los proyectos de la modernidad: “No tenemos que mendigar a otras fuentes ateas o de inspiración intrascendente el concepto de nuestra liberación. Desde nuestros orígenes nacionales, Dios nos favoreció con su verdadero pensamiento”.
En seguida leamos sobre el proyecto de Dios para transfigurar El Salvador y el mundo, como lo presentaba el Beato Óscar Romero en esta homilía hasta ahora no reproducida.  Bien podría revelar un mensaje vigente para El Salvador y el mundo de hoy.

El Divino Salvador:
Quién es, cómo es su Liberación, cómo llega hasta nosotros su Obra.
Beato Óscar A. Romero
6 de agosto de 1976


I.          Quién es El Divino Salvador

Una Canción de Cuna

El Evangelio de la transfiguración del Señor, que acaba de proclamar, se me ocurre que tiene para nosotros los salvadoreños, la nostálgica dulzura de una canción de cuna. Y a la luz de ese Evangelio, nuestras fiestas agostinas recobran para nosotros la emoción de un retorno al hogar que nos vio nacer.

Sí. Así nacimos, a la civilización cristiana, bajo el signo de la Transfiguración del Señor. Su rostro divino, convertido en sol y el níveo resplandor de sus vestido, fueron los primeros rayos cristianos, que iluminaron la opulenta geografía de Nuestra Patria, al emerger de su nebulosa prehistoria, cuando el Capitán Don Pedro de Alvarado, en 1528, después de poner su conquista bajo la protección de la Santísima Trinidad, fundaba la Capital de nuestra República y la Bautizaba con el incomparable nombre de San Salvador.

El Siervo de Dios, Pío XII, al comentar, en el esplendor de nuestros primer congreso Eucarístico Nacional, este privilegiado origen de nuestra historia cristiana, observaba con perspicacia teológica: “No fue solamente -queremos pensarlo así-la acendrada piedad de Pedro de Alvarado, la que, en los albores de la Conquista, tan altamente os bautizó, sino más que nada la providencia misma de Dios”. (Radiomensaje de S.S. Pio XII en la ocasión de la clausura del 1er Congreso Eucarístico Nacional de la República de El Salvador, 26 de noviembre de 1942.)

Un Regalo de Bautismo

Efectivamente, era la Providencia misma de Dios, la que bautizaba e imprimía a esta ignota tierra un carácter inconfundible e indeleble con el esplendor de la más luminosa teofanía del Evangelio.

Era un evangelio que llegaba hasta nosotros, enriquecido con las exquisitas esencias de la teología y de la liturgia oriental y con el eco de las oraciones, las luchas y las victorias de la Iglesia creadora y guardiana de la civilización occidental; porque esta fiesta del 6 de Agosto que España nos regaló, comenzó a celebrarse con gran esplendor, el Siglo V, como la más destacada fiesta de verano, allá en el oriente, en honor de Cristo Rey y el Papa Calixto III, la adoptó en 1457, en la liturgia de occidente, como fiesta motiva, por la victoria cristiana de Belgrado, con las invasiones del Islamismo.

Así, la providencia de dios, preparó los largos caminos de la Iglesia para llegar hasta nosotros a comenzar aquí, su tarea de evangelización, bajo el signo de la Transfiguración; un signo de plenitud, la plenitud del Kerigma (proclamación) y de la catequesis cristiana, nos llegaba con esa visión espléndida del tabor. Porque en ella Dios nos ofrece, en maravillosa síntesis, como en semilla o fermento, toda la revelación de su divino proyecto de salvar al mundo en el hijo de sus complacencias. Por eso yo creo que el mejor servicio que un humilde predicador del Evangelio puede prestar a la patria, en esta solemne ocasión en que retorna con cariño la familia, para revisar y confrontar, si nuestra realidad religiosa y nacional se está edificando sobre esas tres macizas coordenadas del cristianismo que se iluminan con este misterio nacional de nuestras fiestas patronales: Cristo, su Salvación, Su Iglesia.

Porque sólo una persona divina podía dar categoría y mérito de Dios, al dolor y a la Sangre humana que debía ser el precio de la redención.

El Divino Salvador, es el hombre más acertado que se pudo dar a este cuadro luminoso de la Transfiguración; porque en él, Dios revela con el lenguaje divino de los signos, su designio misericordioso de salvar al mundo por medio de su hijo amado. Moisés y Elías son la presencia de las promesas y profecías con que dios venía anunciando y preparando, con mensajes y hechos portentosos, la gran liberación de la humanidad en Cristo. Pedro, Santiago y Juan, contemporáneos del cumplimiento de aquellas promesas de Dios, están allí, templando ya su fe y su esperanza para asistir y ser testigos ante el mundo del escándalo doloroso de la cruz; por eso, cuando la visión termina, el Señor les ordena el secreto de la teofonía, “hasta que el Hijo del hombre resucite de entre los muertos”. (Marcos 9,9.) Por una paradoja insospechada, la luminosa visión del tabor ha sido un trágico anuncio de sangrienta transfiguración del Calvario.

Solo Salva su Liberación

Y así fue como nuestra Patria, junto con la presentación del nombre Dios, recibió, a través de Profetas y Apóstoles, la revelación auténtica de la verdadera salvación de Dios. No tenemos que mendigar a otras fuentes ateas o de inspiración intrascendente el concepto de nuestra liberación. Desde nuestros orígenes nacionales, Dios nos favoreció con su verdadero pensamiento. Y es allí, en la entraña de nuestra propia fe y de nuestra auténtica espiritualidad nacional, donde podemos encontrar las luces y la fuerza, que el Divino Salvador ofrece para eficaces liberaciones y promociones y transformaciones de nuestro país.

II.         Cómo es su Liberación

¿Cuál es pues la liberación que patrocina y protagoniza el Divino Salvador de los hombres?

Los depositarios autorizados de su pensamiento, el Papa y los Obispos, se reunieron hace dos años, en el Sínodo mundial de 1974, para confrontar ese pensamiento divino con la trágica realidad de nuestro mundo actual...”En su acento pastoral” -comenta Pablo VI, en la exhortación sobre la evangelización del mundo actual, “vibraban las voces, de millones de hijos de la Iglesia que forman tales pueblos (del tercer mundo). Pueblos empeñados con todas sus energías en el esfuerzo y en la lucha por superar todo aquello que los condena a quedar al margen de la vida: hambres, enfermedades crónicas, analfabetismo, situaciones de neocolonialismo económico y cultural, a veces tan cruel como el político, etc.  (EVANGELII NUNTIANDI, 30)

Y los Obispos reconocieron el deber de la Iglesia, de denunciar y ayudar a que nazca la liberación total, para estos millones de seres humanos. Pero los mismos Obispos, ofrecieron en aquella histórica reunión, “los principios iluminadores, para comprender mejor la importancia y el sentido profundo de la liberación, tal como lo ha anunciado y realizado Jesús de Nazaret y la predica la Iglesia”. (Exhort. cit.)

La liberación de Cristo y de su Iglesia, no se reduce a la dimensión de un proyecto puramente temporal. No reduce sus objetivos a una perspectiva antropocéntrica: a un bienestar material o a iniciativas de orden político o social, económico o cultural.

Mucho menos puede ser una liberación amparada o que ampara la violencia.

Si esto fuera así, la Iglesia perdería su significación más profunda, su mensaje de liberación no tendría ninguna originalidad y se prestaría a ser acaparado o manipulado por los sistemas ideológicos y los partidos políticos...No tendría autoridad para anunciarla de parte de Dios”. (Exhort Cit.)

Es en cambio la de Cristo y su Iglesia, una liberación que abarca al hombre entero, en todas sus dimensiones, incluida su apertura al absoluto que es Dios. Y al “asociarse a los que trabajan por la liberación, la Iglesia no circunscribe su acción al sólo terreno religioso, desinteresándose de los problemas temporales del hombre, pero reafirman la primacía de su vocación espiritual...y no substituye la proclamación del Reino de dios por el anuncio de liberaciones humanas”. (Exhort Cit.) Su mejor contribución es anunciar la salvación el Jesucristo; una salvación, por tanto, que exige una conversión de corazón. Está de acuerdo a la Iglesia en que es necesario cambiar estructuras por otras más humanas y más justas; pero está convencida de que estas nuevas estructuras “se convierten pronto en inhumanas, si las inclinaciones inhumanas del hombre no son saneadas, si no hay una conversión de corazón y de mente, por parte de quienes viven o rigen estas estructuras”. (Exhort Cit.)

Arbitro de Nuestro Conflictos

Que bello sería este 6 de agosto, si al salir de este hogar solariego, después de compartir un retorno sincero a nuestros orígenes, llevaremos en nuestras almas el propósito de entendernos mejor desde el puesto donde ha colocado a cada uno la mano de la Providencia; si los hombres de gobierno y los pastores de la Iglesia, si el capital y el trabajo, los hombres de la ciudad y de los campos, las iniciativas del gobierno y las de la empresa privada...todos dejáramos que de verdad el Divino Salvador del Mundo, Patrono de la Nación, fuera nuestras transformaciones nacionales que urgentemente necesitamos, fuera el inspirador y el árbitro de todos nuestros conflictos, el artífice de todas nuestras transformaciones nacionales que urgentemente necesitamos, para una liberación integral que sólo Él puede construir.

III.        Cómo llega hasta nosotros su obra

Cristo Vive en Su Iglesia

Porque Cristo vive. Y está realizando la gran obra de la liberación del mundo. La Iglesia, por él fundada, prolonga entre los hombres, el misterio de su encarnación y de su salvación. En la Iglesia resplandece la luz de Cristo.

El episodio de la transfiguración nos revela también este misterio de la iglesia y su misión en nuestra historia nacional. San Pedro, el primer Papa elegido para esta Iglesia que nace, nos describe en el poético símbolo de una lámpara, la misión de la Iglesia, que recoge la luz de los profetas y al ponerla en contacto con el Cristo de la transfiguración, se torna más luminoso porque constata en él, la realización de los profetas, y así la lleva luego por los caminos de los hombres “hasta que despunte el día y el lucero se levante en vuestros corazones” (2a. lectura—2 Pedro 1,19).

Esta es su misión, “iluminar a los hombres con la luz de Cristo que resplandece sobre su faz” (LUMEN GENTIUM, 1). Ella nos trae al Cristo verdadero. No podemos olvidar que, si el 6 de agosto fue posible para nosotros, como un encuentro de nuestra Patria con Dios, fue gracias a la Iglesia. “Al principio de nuestra fe, está el credo de la Iglesia. De la Iglesia pues y no de la crítica filosófica o fisiológica, hemos recibido la fe en Jesús”. Cualquier otro Cristo y cualquiera otra liberación que no sea el Cristo, ni la liberación predicados por la Iglesia, serán siempre Cristo y liberación imaginados, por más “históricos” que se les quiera llamar. En nombre de la Iglesia, pudo decir San Pablo a los Gálatas: “Si alguien os predica un Evangelio distinto del que habéis recibido, sea anatema” (Gal. 1,6).

Signo visible de Nuestro Encuentro con El

Y, al mismo tiempo que la Iglesia es portadora de la verdadera luz de Cristo, es también meta de la evangelización de los pueblos. Porque la Evangelización, predica “la búsqueda de Dios, a través de la oración y también a través de la comunión, con ese signo visible del encuentro con Dios, que es la Iglesia de Jesucristo; comunión que a su vez se expresa mediante la participación en esos otros signos de Cristo viviente y operante en la Iglesia, que son los Sacramentos”. (EVANGELII NUNTIANDI, 28)  Así destruye Pablo VI, en su magistral exhortación “Evangelizando”, esa dicotomía de inspiración protestante que quisieron eregir ciertas pastorales, al oponer “evangelización” y “sacramentalización”.

Nuestro retorno a las fuentes nos ha llevado también a este feliz encuentro con nuestra Iglesia. La que nos trajo, como regalo de la providencia, esta teofanía tan cargada de mensaje, la que nos ofrece un lugar seguro, de nuestro encuentro con Cristo vivo y salvador. Esto es un reclamo a los que somos representantes de esa Iglesia, Obispos, sacerdotes y religiosas, a hacernos cada día más aptos para una vocación que tiene la trascendental misión de hacer brillar el rostro de la Iglesia sobre nuestra patria; y la mayor desgracia seria ocultar ese resplandor, camuflando o presentando víctimas de una crisis, nuestra gloriosa identidad sacerdotal y religioso. También inspira este momento la franqueza, la confianza de acercarnos al Gobierno y al pueblo, para repetir un reclamo de la Iglesia, formulado así, por el Concilio Vaticano II: “La Iglesia no os pide más que la libertad; la libertad de creer y predicar su fe; la libertad de amar a su Dios servirle; la libertad de vivir y de llevar a los hombres su mensaje de vida. No la temáis, es la imagen de su Maestro, cuya acción misteriosa no usurpa vuestras prerrogativas, sino que salva a todo lo humano de su fatal caducidad, lo transfigura, lo llena de esperanza, de verdad, de belleza” (mensaje a los Gobernantes).

Como un solo corazón

En verdad, más que la piedad de Pedro de Alvarado fue la Providencia de Dios, la que tan altamente nos bautizó con el nombre de El Salvador. Y más que un nombre, nos entregó un mensaje, que es el resumen de su divino proyecto de salvar al mundo, en su hijo amado. Por eso, hoy que las fiestas agostinas nos parecen un plácido retorno a la casa solariega, como quien se inclina, para estampar un beso de fe, de gratitud y de compromiso, sobre la cuna de su infancia y sobre la pila de su bautismo...los pastores de la Iglesia, las Supremas Autoridades del Estado, que mucho se enaltecen, presidiendo a su pueblo en este homenaje, al Celestial Patrono y el Pueblo entero de El Salvador, como formando un solo corazón y una sola voz que ora y adora, es decir el corazón de la Patria, cae de rodillas ante el altar de esta eucaristía nacional, preparado ya para que ofrezca un nuevo sacrificio por su pueblo y ratifique su misericordiosa alianza con nosotros EL DIVINO SALVADOR DEL MUNDO.