Oscar Romero was an influential figure in the liberation theology movement in Latin America. Outspoken as an Archbishop against the repressive El Salvadorean government, he was gunned down while saying Mass on March 24th, 1980. The day prior he preached the following words:
Because of this, the Church, the people of God in history, is not installed in any one social system, in any political organization, in any party. The Church is not led on a hunt by any of these forces because she is the eternal pilgrim of history and is indicating at every historical moment what does reflect the kingdom of God and what does not reflect the kingdom of God. She is the servant of the kingdom of God.
The great task of the Christian has to be to absorb the kingdom of God, and with that soul filled with the kingdom of God to work on the projects of history.It’s fine to be organized in popular organizations; it’s all right to form political parties; it’s all right to take part in government; it’s fine as long as you are a Christian carrying the reflection of the kingdom of God and trying to establish it there where you are working, and not becoming a toy to the ambitions of the earth.
This is the great duty of the people of today. My dear Christians, I have always told you, and I will repeat, that from here, the Christian group, from the people of God have to come those who are going to be the true liberators of our people….
We want the government to seriously consider that reforms mean nothing when they come bathed in so much blood. Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you in the name of God: Cease the repression!
The full video and transcript can be found here. HT: Rose Marie Berger.