|Birth Day:||August 15, 1917|
|Death Date:||Mar 24, 1980 (age 62)|
|Birth Place:||Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Oscar Romero died on Mar 24, 1980 (age 62).
He was trained in carpentry by his father.
Romero was born on 15 August 1917 to Santos Romero and Guadalupe de Jesús Galdámez in Ciudad Barrios in the San Miguel department of El Salvador. On 11 May 1919, at the age of one, Óscar was baptized into the Catholic Church by the priest Cecilio Morales. He had five brothers and two sisters: Gustavo, Zaída, Rómulo, Mamerto, Arnoldo, and Gaspar, and Aminta (who died shortly after birth).
Romero entered the minor seminary in San Miguel at the age of thirteen. He left the seminary for three months to return home when his mother became ill after the birth of her eighth child; during this time he worked with two of his brothers in a gold mine near Ciudad Barrios. After graduation he enrolled in the national seminary in San Salvador. He completed his studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he received a Licentiate in Theology cum laude in 1941, but had to wait a year to be ordained because he was younger than the required age. He was ordained in Rome on 4 April 1942. His family could not attend his ordination because of travel restrictions due to World War II. Romero remained in Italy to obtain a doctoral degree in Theology, specializing in ascetical theology and Christian perfection according to Luis de la Puente. Before finishing, in 1943 at the age of 26, he was summoned back home from Italy by his bishop. He traveled home with a good friend, Father Valladares, who was also doing doctoral work in Rome. On the route home, they made stops in Spain and Cuba, where they were detained by the Cuban police, perhaps for having come from Fascist Italy, and were placed in a series of internment camps. After several months in prison, Valladares became sick and Redemptorist priests helped to have the two transferred to a hospital. From the hospital they were released from Cuban custody and sailed on to Mexico, then traveled overland to El Salvador.
Romero was first assigned to serve as a parish priest in Anamorós, but then moved to San Miguel where he worked for over 20 years. He promoted various apostolic groups, started an Alcoholics Anonymous group, helped in the construction of San Miguel's cathedral, and supported devotion to Our Lady of Peace. He was later appointed rector of the inter-diocesan seminary in San Salvador. Emotionally and physically exhausted by his work in San Miguel, Romero took a retreat in January 1966 where he visited a priest for confession and a psychiatrist. He was diagnosed by the psychiatrist as having obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and by priests with scrupulosity.
In 1966, he was chosen to be Secretary of the Bishops Conference for El Salvador. He also became the director of the archdiocesan newspaper Orientación, which became fairly conservative while he was editor, defending the traditional Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
In 1970, Romero was appointed an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Salvador. In 1974, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Santiago de María, a poor, rural region.
Romero was a strong advocate of the spiritual charism of Opus Dei. He received weekly spiritual direction from a priest of the Opus Dei movement. In 1975 he wrote in support of the cause of canonization of Opus Dei's founder, "Personally, I owe deep gratitude to the priests involved with the Work, to whom I have entrusted with much satisfaction the spiritual direction of my own life and that of other priests."
On 23 February 1977, Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. While this appointment was welcomed by the government, many priests were disappointed, especially those openly supportive of Marxist ideology. The progressive priests feared that his conservative reputation would negatively affect liberation theology's commitment to the poor.
On 12 March 1977, Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit priest and personal friend of Romero who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. His death had a profound impact on Romero, who later stated: "When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path.'" Romero urged the government to investigate, but they ignored his request. Furthermore, the censored press remained silent.
In October 1978, 119 British parliamentarians had nominated Romero for the Nobel Prize for Peace. In this they were supported by 26 members of the United States Congress. When news of the assassination was reported in March 1980, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, was about to be enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral. On hearing of Romero's death, one writer observed that Runcie "departed from the ancient traditions to decry the murder of Archbishop Óscar Romero in El Salvador."
In 1979, the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power amidst a wave of human rights abuses by paramilitary right-wing groups and the government, in an escalation of violence that would become the Salvadoran Civil War. Romero criticized the United States for giving military aid to the new government and wrote an open letter to President Jimmy Carter in February 1980, warning that increased US military aid would "undoubtedly sharpen the injustice and the political repression inflicted on the organized people, whose struggle has often been for their most basic human rights." This letter was then sent, via telegram, from the U.S. embassy in El Salvador to Washington D.C.. Carter did not directly respond to the letter, instead Cyrus Vance, the Secretary of State, wrote a telegram back to the U.S. embassy. The telegram carried a very contradictory message, both stating that the United States will not interfere but will respond to the Revolutionary Government Junta's requests. It is unknown if Archbishop Romero received the telegram.
On 11 May 1979, Romero met with Pope John Paul II and unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a Vatican condemnation of the right-wing El Salvador's regime for violations of human rights during the Salvadoran Civil War and its support of death squads, and expressed his frustration in working with clergy who cooperated with the government. He was encouraged by John Paul II to maintain episcopal unity as a top priority.
Romero preached that "The most profound social revolution is the serious, supernatural, interior reform of a Christian." He also emphasized: "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 only to initiatives of a political or social, economic or cultural order. Much less can it be a liberation that supports or is supported by violence." Romero expressed several times his disapproval for divisiveness in the church. In a sermon preached on 11 November 1979 he said: "The other day, one of the persons who proclaims liberation in a political sense was asked: 'For you, what is the meaning of the Church'?" He said that the activist "answered with these scandalous words: 'There are two churches, the church of the rich and the church of the poor. We believe in the church of the poor but not in the church of the rich.'" Romero declared, "Clearly these words are a form of demagogy and I will never admit a division of the Church." He added, "There is only one Church, the Church that Christ preached, the Church to which we should give our whole hearts. There is only one Church, a Church that adores the living God and knows how to give relative value to the goods of this earth."
As a result of his humanitarian efforts, Romero began to be noticed internationally. In February 1980, he was given an honorary doctorate by the Catholic University of Louvain.
On 23 March 1980, Romero delivered a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God's higher order and to stop carrying out the government's repression and violations of basic human rights.
Romero was buried in the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador (Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador). The Funeral Mass on 30 March 1980 in San Salvador was attended by more than 250,000 mourners from all over the world. Viewing this attendance as a protest, Jesuit priest John Dear has said, "Romero's funeral was the largest demonstration in Salvadoran history, some say in the history of Latin America."
The United States public's reaction to Archbishop Romero's death was symbolized through the "martyrdom of Romero" as an inspiration to end US military aid to El Salvador. In December 1980 the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union refused to deliver military equipment destined for the Salvadoran government. The leader of the union, Jim Herman, was known as a supporter of Romero and denounced his death. On 24 March 1984 a protest was held in Los Angeles, California where around 3,000 people, organized by 20 November Coalition, protested US intervention in El Salvador, using the anniversary of the Archbishop's death and his face as a symbol. On 24 March, 1990 10,000 people marched in front of the White House to denounce the military aid that was still flowing from the United States to the El Salvadoran government. Protestors carried a bust of the archbishop and quoted some of his speeches, in addition to the event being held on the anniversary of his death. Noted figures Ed Asner and Jennifer Casolo participated in the event.
On 25 March 1980 US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance revealed that the White House would continue to fund the Revolutionary Government Junta and provide military aid to them, in spite of the pleas of Oscar Romero and his death immediately prior to this announcement. On 31 March 1983 Roberto D’Aubuisson was allowed entry to the United States by the State Department after deeming him not barred from entry any longer. When asked about D'Aubuisson's association with the assassination of Archbishop Romero, the State Department responded that "the allegations have not been substantiated." In November 1993, documents by the State Department, Defense Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency were released after pressure by Congress increased. The 12,000 documents revealed that the administrations of President Reagan and President Bush knew of the assassinations conducted by Roberto D'Aubuisson, including that of Oscar Romero, and still worked with him despite this.
During his first visit to El Salvador in 1983, Pope John Paul II entered the cathedral in San Salvador and prayed at Romero's tomb, despite opposition from the government and from some within the church who strongly opposed Liberation Theology. Afterwards, the Pope praised Romero as a "zealous and venerated pastor who tried to stop violence." John Paul II also asked for dialogue between the government and opposition to end El Salvador's civil war.
Subsequent investigations by the United Nations and other international bodies have established that the four assassins were members of a death squad led by Major Roberto D'Aubuisson. Revelations of the D'Aubuisson plot came to light in 1984 when US ambassador Robert White testified before the United States Congress that "there was sufficient evidence" to convict D'Aubuisson of planning and ordering Romero's assassination. In 1993, an official United Nations report identified D'Aubuisson as the man who ordered the killing. It is believed that D'Aubuisson had strong connections to the Nicaraguan National Guard and to its offshoot the Fifteenth of September Legion and had also planned to overthrow the government in a coup. Later he founded the political party Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), and organized death squads that systematically carried out politically motivated assassinations and other human rights abuses in El Salvador. Álvaro Rafael Saravia, a former captain in the Salvadoran Air Force, was chief of security for D'Aubuisson and an active member of these death squads. In 2003 a United States human rights organization, the Center for Justice and Accountability, filed a civil action against Saravia. In 2004, he was found liable by a US District Court under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) (28 U.S.C. § 1350) for aiding, conspiring, and participating in the assassination of Romero. Saravia was ordered to pay $10 million for extrajudicial killing and crimes against humanity pursuant to the ATCA; he has since gone into hiding. On 24 March 2010 – the thirtieth anniversary of Romero's death – Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes offered an official state apology for Romero's assassination. Speaking before Romero's family, representatives of the Catholic Church, diplomats, and government officials, Funes said those involved in the assassination "unfortunately acted with the protection, collaboration, or participation of state agents."
In 1990, on the tenth anniversary of the assassination, the sitting Archbishop of San Salvador, Arturo Rivera y Damas, appointed a postulator to prepare documentation for a cause of beatification and eventual canonization of Romero. The documents were formally accepted by Pope John Paul II and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1997, and Romero was given the title of Servant of God.
A 2000 article by Tom Gibb, then a correspondent with the Guardian and later with the BBC, attributes the murder to a detective of the Salvadoran National Police named Óscar Pérez Linares, on orders of D'Aubuisson. The article cites an anonymous former death squad member who claimed he had been assigned to guard a house in San Salvador used by a unit of three counter-guerrilla operatives directed by D'Aubuisson. The guard, whom Gibb identified as "Jorge," purported to have witnessed Linares fraternizing with the group, which was nicknamed the "Little Angels," and to have heard them praise Linares for the killing. The article furthermore attributes full knowledge of the assassination to the CIA as far back as 1983. The article reports that both Linares and the Little Angels commander, who Jorge identified as "El Negro Mario," were killed by a CIA-trained Salvadoran special police unit in 1986; the unit had been assigned to investigate the murders. In 1983, U.S. Lt. Col. Oliver North, aide to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, is alleged to have personally requested the Salvadoran military to "remove" Linares and several others from their service. Three years later they were pursued and extrajudicially killed – Linares after being found in neighboring Guatemala. The article cites another source in the Salvadoran military as saying, "they knew far too much to live."
On 7 May 2000, in Rome's Colosseum during the Jubilee Year celebrations, Pope John Paul II commemorated twentieth-century martyrs. Of the several categories of martyrs, the seventh consisted of Christians who were killed for defending their brethren in the Americas. Despite the opposition of some social conservatives within the church, John Paul II insisted that Romero be included. He asked the organizers of the event to proclaim Romero "that great witness of the Gospel."
In March 2005, Vincenzo Paglia, the Vatican official in charge of the process, announced that Romero's cause had cleared a theological audit by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the time headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later elected Pope Benedict XVI) and that beatification could follow within six months. Pope John Paul II died within weeks of those remarks. Predictably, the transition of the new pontiff slowed down the work of canonizations and beatifications. Pope Benedict instituted changes that had the overall effect of reining in the Vatican's so-called "factory of saints." In an October 2005 interview, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, was asked if Paglia's predictions of a clearance for Romero's beatification remained on track. Saraiva responded, "Not as far as I know today," In November 2005, a Jesuit magazine signaled that Romero's beatification was still "years away."
In a 2010 article for the Salvadoran online newspaper El Faro, Saravia was interviewed from a mountain hideout. He named D'Aubuisson as giving the assassination order to him over the phone, and said that he and his cohorts drove the assassin to the chapel and paid him 1,000 Salvadoran colons after the event.
On 21 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims which recognizes, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero.
On 22 March 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Romero's tomb during an official visit to El Salvador.
Although Benedict XVI had always been a fierce critic of liberation theology, Paglia reported in December 2012 that the Pope had informed him of the decision to "unblock" the cause and allow it to move forward. However, no progress was made before Benedict's resignation in February 2013. Pope Francis was elected in March 2013, and in September 2013, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that the Vatican doctrinal office has been "given the greenlight" to pursue sainthood for Romero. In 2014, Gregorio Rosa Chávez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Salvador, said that the beatification process was in its final stages.
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins visited the Cathedral and tomb of Romero on 25 October 2013 during a state visit to El Salvador. Famed linguist Noam Chomsky speaks highly of Romero's social work, and refers often to his murder.
In 2014, El Salvador's main international airport was named after him, becoming Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport.
On 18 August 2014, Pope Francis said that "[t]he process [of beatification of Romero] was at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, blocked for 'prudential reasons', so they said. Now it is unblocked." Pope Francis stated that "There are no doctrinal problems and it is very important that [the beatification] is done quickly." The beatification is widely seen as the pope's strong affirmation of Romero's work with the poor and as a major change in the direction of the church since he was elected.
The beatification of Romero was held in San Salvador on 23 May 2015 in the Plaza Salvador del Mundo under the Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo. Amato presided over the ceremony on behalf of Pope Francis, who sent a letter to Archbishop of San Salvador José Luis Escobar Alas, marking the occasion and calling Romero "a voice that continues to resonate." An estimated 250,000 people attended the service, many watching on large television screens set up in the streets around the plaza.
Three miracles were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome in October 2016 that could have led to Romero's canonization. But each of these miracles was rejected after being investigated. A fourth (concerning the pregnant woman Cecilia Maribel Flores) was investigated in a diocesan process in San Salvador that was opened on 31 January 2017 and which concluded its initial investigation on 28 February before documentation was submitted to Rome via the apostolic nunciature. The C.C.S. validated this on 7 April. Medical experts issued unanimous approval to the presented miracle on 26 October with theologians also confirming their approval on 14 December. The C.C.S. members likewise approved the case on 6 February 2018. Pope Francis approved this miracle on 6 March 2018, allowing for Romero to be canonized and the date was announced at a consistory of cardinals held on 19 May. The canonization was celebrated in Rome's Saint Peter's Square on 14 October 2018.
In April 2017, however, in the wake of the overruling of a Civil War amnesty law the previous year, a judge in El Salvador, Rigoberto Chicas, allowed the case against the escaped Saravia's alleged role in the murder of Romero to be reopened. On 23 October 2018, days after Saint Romero's canonization, Judge Chicas issued a new arrest warrant for him, and Interpol and the National Police are charged with finding his hideout and apprehending him. D'Aubuisson and Linares are deceased, so they cannot be prosecuted.
Previously there had been hopes that Romero would be canonized during a possible papal visit to El Salvador on 15 August 2017 – the centennial of the late bishop's birth – or that he could be canonized in Panama during World Youth Day in 2019.
In 2018, Gloria.tv criticized Romero's canonization effort, saying that his biographer and personal secretary Jesus Delgado, who was instrumental in not only Romero's beatification but also his canonization process, was convicted and laicized by a Vatican court in December 2016, for molesting a girl.
Oscar had five brothers and two sisters.
Currently, Oscar Romero is 105 years, 5 months and 15 days old. Oscar Romero will celebrate 106th birthday on a Tuesday 15th of August 2023. Below we countdown to Oscar Romero upcoming birthday.
[Index] Faithful pack the rural country church of Oscar Romero's hometown to celebrate what would have been his 96th Birthday. Photo c...