The violence of love
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) was a bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. He became the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador, succeeding Luis Chávez. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. He was assassinated on 24 March 1980. By the time of his death, Archbishop Romero had built up an enormous following among Salvadorans. He did this largely through broadcasting his weekly sermon across El Salvador. In these sermons, he listed disappearances, tortures, murders and much more each Sunday. This was followed by an hour long speech on radio the following day. On the importance of these broadcasts, one writer noted "The archbishop's Sunday sermon was the main source in El Salvador about what was happening .... It was estimated to have the largest listenership of any programme in the country". Similarly, his diocesan weekly paper Orientacion carried lists of cases of torture and repression every week.
Romero was shot on 24 March 1980 while celebrating Mass, at a small chapel located in a hospital called "La Divina Providencia", one day after a sermon in which he had 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. As soon as he finished his sermon, Romero proceeded to the middle of the altar and at that moment he was shot. According to an audio-recording of the Mass, he was shot while elevating the chalice at the end of the Eucharistic rite.
“We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood,the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.”
― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love (Source: Goodreads)