"I do indeed fear God, and so I try to say only what he wants me to say, even if people don't want me to say what I'm saying."
Oscar Romero was archbishop of San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, at a time when murder and torture were widespread in the country. After his friend and fellow priest Father Grande was killed by the government, Romero took a stand against the violence. Week after week, he used his pulpit and radio broadcasts to report the murders and disappearances; to call for the church to work for peace and justice; and to preach repentance and forgiveness even for the killers. He did this knowing that it would certainly lead to his death. In March 1980 he was shot as he celebrated Mass in the cathedral.
The Scandal of Redemption collects together extracts from Romero's sermons and diaries. The chapter headings are short - The Church, The Call, Redemption, Liberation - and each chapter gives a flavour of Romero's thinking on the topic. A remarkable man emerges from the pages.
What are the main themes of this book?
What did you like about the book?
What did you find difficult?
I found these three lines most challenging:
The vocation of human beings is to collaborate in the salvation of others. Do I collaborate in salvation and not in harm? How do I do that? Is that my vocation - my reason for being?
Christians must always nourish in their hearts the fullness of joy. This carries weight, coming as it does from a man whose life was in danger. Yet he found joy in knowing Jesus. How do I nourish Jesus' presence in my life? How can I know fullness of joy even in difficulty?
If we are reasonable in our hopes for a world where we will love one another... then we must work to make these qualities a part of our history here and now on earth. To what extent am I hoping God will work everything out one day, and to what extent am I doing anything about it now? How can I make love, peace and justice a part of my history, and my country's history?
Did you learn something new?
I was surprised to find that Oscar Romero commented on structural injustice and the Spirit being at work outside the church. Both of these concepts, I thought, were more recent than that!