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Oscar Romero Quotes

Updated on December 6, 2010

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador until he was assassinated in 1980. At the time of his murder he was celebrating mass in the hospital chapel in San Salvador.

He had been very outspoken in his support of the poor people of El Salvador and had preached sermons urging non violent change, peace and reconciliation.

He used his sermons to plead with both the right and the left to end the violence and end the human rights violations that were taking place throughout the country. He was not the first priest to be killed for his beliefs in El Salvador but he was certainly the most well known and his name and his teachings are still widely quoted today.

I have gathered together some of his quotes taken from sermons he gave, prayers and interviews that he gave.

Oscar Romero on Love

 Let us not tire of preaching love:  it is the force that will overcome the world.

If there were love of neighbour there would be no terrorism, no repression, no selfishness, none of such cruel inequalities in society, no abductions, no crimes.

Oscar Romero on Peace

Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.

To the soldiers of El Salvador:

Brothers, you came from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says, 'Thou shalt not kill'. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. it is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed yourconsciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.

Oscar Romero on People

Aspire not to have more but to be more.

Defence of human rights, equality and freedom is a matte of policy rooted in the gospel.

Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God; we live only as long as God wants us to live; we can only do as much as God makes us able to do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be.

If we are worth anything, it is not because we have more money or more talent or more human qualities. Insofar as we are worth anything, it is because we are grafted on to Christ's life, his cross and resurrection. That is a person's measure.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.  Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.  No statement says all that could be said.  No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection.  No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission.  No set of goals and obvjectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.  We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development.  We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.  we cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.  this enables us to do something, and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.  We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.  We are the workers, not master builders;  ministers, not messiahs.

Oscar Romero on Death

 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.

I do not believe in death without resurrection.  If they kill me I will rise again in the people of El Salvador.

His last words as he lay dying were:

May God have mercy on the assassins.

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