by Dom Pedro Casaldáliga* (English translation by Rebel Girl)
March 9, 2010
To celebrate an anniversary of our Saint Romero of America is to celebrate a contagious prophetic witness. It is to uncompromisingly take on the causes, the reasons why our Saint Romero was martyred. He was a great witness following the greatest Witness, the faithful Witness, Jesus. The blood of martyrs is the cup from which we all can and must drink. Always and under every circumstance, the memory of martyrdom is a subversive memory.
Thirty years have come and gone since that full Eucharist in the clinic chapel. That day our saint wrote to us: "We believe in the victory of the resurrection." And he often said, prophesying a new era, "if they kill me, I will resurrect in the Salvadoran people." And, with all the ambiguities of history in process, our Saint Romero is rising in El Salvador, in Our America, in the World.
This Anniversary should renew in all of us hope -- lucid, critical, but invincible. "Everything is grace", everything is Easter, if we risk entering into the mystery of the shared supper, the cross and resurrection.
Saint Romero teaches and "charges" us to live a whole spirituality, a holiness as mystical as it is political. In everyday life and in the larger processes of justice and peace, "with the poor of the earth", in the family, in the street, at work, in the popular movement and the pastoral incarnate. He awaits us in the daily struggle against this kind of monstrous mob that is neoliberal capitalism, against the unbridled market, against rampant consumerism. The Fraternity Campaign of Brazil, which is ecumenical this year, reminds us of Jesus' strong words: "You can not serve two masters, both God and money."
Responding to those in Society and the Church who attempt to demoralize liberation theology, walking in communion with the poor, this new way of being church, our pastor and martyr replied: "There is an “atheism” that is closer at hand and more dangerous to our church. It is the atheism of capitalism, in which material possessions are set up as idols and take God’s place."
Faithful to the signs of the times, like Romero, updating the faces of the poor and the social and pastoral needs, we must stress during this anniversary the greatest causes, some of them true paradigms. Ecumenism and macro-ecumenism in religious dialogue and universal koinonia. The rights of migrants against segregation laws. Solidarity and intersolidarity. The great ecological cause.
(Our Latin American Agenda this year is dedicated precisely to the ecological issue, with a challenging title: "Let us save ourselves along with the Planet"). The integration of Our America. The effective campaigns for peace, denouncing the growing militarism and weapons proliferation. Always pressing for changes in the Church, with the role of the laity, that Santo Domingo called for, and equality of women in church ministries. The challenge of daily violence, especially among youth, who are manipulated by the alienating media and the world's drug epidemic.
Always and increasingly, however great the challenges may be, we will live out the option for the poor, hope "against hope". In following Jesus, the Kingdom within. Our consistency will be the best canonization of "Saint Romero of America, pastor and martyr."
* Bishop Emeritus of São Félix do Araguaia, Brazil