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Posted December 1, 2004

Book: Monsignor Romero: A Bishop for the Third Millennium
Editor: Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, pp.128

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Monsignor Romero: A Bishop for the Third Millennium is a collection of speeches given in honor of the late archbishop by distinguished visitors to Notre Dame. Shortly before his assassination, Archbishop Romero told an interviewer, “I have to say, as a Christian, that I don’t believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again n the Salvadoran people.” Using a wealth of detailed information about his life and work, the prelates, priests, human rights advocates, civic leaders, and Latin Americanists who have contributed to this volume show how Romero has fulfilled this prophecy.

As the title implies, this book examines Romero’s role as a model bishop for the new millennium. It places particular emphasis on his commitment to human rights, his innovative implementation of the option for the poor, his dedication to the Church, and his views of the role of the laity. It is also an inspirational account of Romero’s deep and abiding faith that seemingly insoluble problems can be resolved by following the Spirit.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Through all this, Rutilio’s renown grew as he spoke out in the teeth of growing repression. In July 1976, the so-called Conservative Religious Front published a flyer threatening to kill him and other pastors of the vicariate for their supposed partisan politics, for preaching hatred, and for agitating class violence. Rutilio used the occasion to preach about the social demands of the Gospel. Of his accusers he said:

Let them read the Bible well and slowly. . .they will find Jesus of Nazareth subversive, and most likely they would sign him up with some existing political party here. . .the people, in the great majority campesinos [poor farmers], suffer the exploitation of a senseless and reactionary minority which says it calls itself “Catholic” but which is not, because it is unjust, full of greed and lacking in love. To speak these bitter truths to this minority is to really love them, in order that they might be converted and change. To disguise these barbarities is not to love [those who perpetrate] them. It’s something like a doctor who, because he doesn’t want the patient to suffer, doesn’t want to cure him by squeezing a wound full of pus. To love the sick person will be to squeeze the wound so that he be healed and cured. Repent, said Jesus! I am not afraid of anything in defending the [people’s] interests, even though that comes to cost me life itself. Giving up one’s life for love of one’s neighbor just as Jesus did is the greatest blessing that a person can have.

Tilo to his attackers and those like them on making a god of money:

It is the god money and their interests. They wake up thinking of the almighty name of the god money; they go to bed thinking in the almighty name of the god money, even though thousands of campesinos continue mugrientos, squalid, anemic and poor. Hypocrites! Stop calling yourselves conservative Catholics, because your are lying!

Table of Contents:

Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C.

1. Monsignor Romero: A bishop for the third millennium
Oscar Andres Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B

2. Martyrs, Heroes, and the Contemporary Church: Latin America and the United States
Archbishop Lucian Mendes De Aleida, S.J.

3. Monsenor Oscar Romero: Human Rights Apostle
Roberto Cuellar M.

4. The Empowering Spirit of Archbishop Romero: A Personal Testimony
Ruben Zamora

5. Archbishop Romero and His Commitment to the Church
Margaret Swedish

6. Monsignor Oscar A. Romero: Martyr of the Option for the Poor

7. Rutilio and Romero: Martyrs for Our Time
Dean Brackley, S.J.

Archbishop Romero’s Challenge to U.S. Universities
Joseph Nangle, O.F.M.

Afterword: The Ongoing Legacy of Archbishop Romero
Juan E. Mendez and Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C.