Top Romero Quotes

Today is the 29th Anniversary of the assassination of Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero. To commemorate the day, I am republishing one of the most popular posts on this blog, a listing of the top 10 quotes of Romero, compiled by the San Romero Discussion Group.

The San Romero Yahoo! Discussion Group has made its selection of the TOP TEN OSCAR ROMERO QUOTES of all time, and the slain Salvadoran archbishop's impassioned assassination-eve plea to his country's military to "Stop the repression!" has topped the selections. Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 to 1980, raising his voice to defend the interests of the poor masses and to stave off a civil war that finally exploded after his March 24, 1980 assassination in a San Salvador suburban church. The previous day, the popular cleric had delivered a stinging rebuke that culminated in a fervent entreaty, the quotation topping the list. "In the name of God, then," Romero had said, "and in the name of this suffering People, whose laments rise to Heaven, each day more tumultously, I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression!"

Carlos Colorado, the moderator of the group, explained that he was inspired to undertake the project when he was approached on behalf of a Catholic school to supply Romero quotations. "I realized," Colorado said, "that most people familiar with Romero know mostly that he was killed, but he was killed for his preaching, and therefore it is important to know what he preached." The National Catholic Reporter backed that view last year when it quoted a bishop attending a Romero conference as asking, "Can you tell me anywhere else in the world where people are studying the homilies of a bishop who's been dead for 25 years?"

The quotes selected by the Romero group are:

  • 10. "The Church of the Paschal Mystery." (Title of Romero's first
    pastoral letter, said to have influenced the Latin American Church's
    view of its identify and function.

  • 9. "We believe that from the transcendence of the Gospel, we can
    assess what the life of the poor consists of and we also believe that
    placing ourselves on the side of the poor and attempting to give them
    life we will know what the eternal truth of the Gospel consists of."
    (Feburary 1980 speech at Louvaine University, Belgium.)

  • 8. "Do you want to know if your Christianity is genuine? Here is
    the touchstone: Whom do you get along with? Who are those who
    criticize you? who are those who do not accept you? Who are those who
    flatter you?" (November 1977 Sermon.)

  • 7. "We are never embarrassed of saying, 'The Church of the
    Poor'." (Christmas Eve 1978 Sermon).

  • 6. "If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, may my death be for
    the freedom of my people ... A bishop will die, but the Church of
    God, which is the people, will never perish." (Interview, a couple
    of weeks before his assassination.

  • 5. "May this Body immolated and this Blood sacrificed for Mankind
    nourish us also, that we may give our body and our blood over to
    suffering and pain, like Christ -- not for Self, but to give harvests
    of peace and justice to our People." (Uttered seconds before a
    gunshot pierced his heart as he prepared to consecrate the Eucharist.

  • 4. "Before an order to kill that a man may give, the law of God
    must prevail that says: Thou shalt not kill! No soldier is obliged to
    obey an order against the law of God." (First of two quotes from
    Romero's last Sunday sermon.

  • 3. "May God have mercy on the assassins." (Last words.)

  • 2. "If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people."
    (Second quote from the interview weeks before his death.)

  • 1. "Stop the repression!"

Originally posted July 3, 2006.


Anonymous said…
thank you tom
Anonymous said…
For the sake of the country let's not symbolize the church with political affiliations. Church should be a diferent entity and separated from politics. They just don't mix well.
Anonymous said…
I got goosebumps reading these again. Again, thank you.
Carlos X. said…
Reading these a couple of years after they were compiled, I'm struck by how they take on poignancy in light of historic developments. I have noticed that the quote we ranked #2 then has been the most often quoted after the recent election.

As to the comments of anonymous # 2, I think enough ink has been spilt on the subject, but the short of it is that the position you are advocating is simplistic and reductionist. We prob. all agree that government should be neutral as between religions, or even as between religion on the one hand and secular morality on the other hand. But, can religion be silent as to the affairs of state? How would Moses have freed the Isrealites? Or better yet, why would we have to read about Israel and the prophets of Israel at all, if the Bible didn't have a relevant critique for society?
Anonymous said…
He´s dead, get over it! War is ugly!