Oscar Romero

1917-1980

Oscar RomeroOscar Arnulfo Romero was born in San Miguel, El Salvador. He became a priest in 1942 and was consecrated as a bishop in 1974. In 1977, Romero was chosen as archbishop with the hope that his moderate views might ease tensions between the Church and state in El Salvador at that time. The archbishop became radicalized, however, when a paramilitary death squad assassinated his close friend, Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ. Archbishop Romero began to preach strongly against the death squads. Adopting the emerging liberation theology, he became a vocal advocate on behalf of the poor and the oppressed, calling for peace based on justice that could only be found in human rights and assurances of basic dignities. His nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 put an international spotlight on his human rights efforts, but on March 24, 1980, as he presided at Mass, he was shot by an assassin. The archbishop’s death drew world-wide attention to the Church in El Salvador. His courageous and unyielding determination to bring about justice cost him his life, but his integrity has inspired thousands to continue his work.