The Church is not Beholden

RomeroFrom Revolutionary Saint: The Theological Legacy of Oscar Romero by Michael E. Lee (Orbis Books, 2018), quoted by Chava Redonnet of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church (Upstate New York):

By viewing the church’s mission as service to God’s reign, Romero opens up a theological space that did not exist in the old colonial mind-set. The church is not beholden to the state, nor does it function to legitimize the status quo in the name of good ‘order.’ The reign of God and its criteria, not the government, should dictate the church’s action.

Like a Roadmap of Resistance

4.2.7By Chava Redonnet, Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church (Rochester, NY)

When I first visited El Salvador in 2005 with a class from Divinity School, we went to the Divina Providencia cancer hospital where Monseñor Romero lived (because he refused to live in the bishop’s palace when the people were living in such terrible conditions). We were there again, on Thursday, October 11, just a few days before his canonization. A Carmelite nun showed us around, and I told her the story of how on my first visit there, I looked at all of his things – daily objects, so lovingly preserved – all so male and old-fashioned and foreign – and they felt strange and distant. But then I saw a pair of clip-on sunglasses that had been his. They were identical to a pair of my own! I could have bought them at Wegmans. And it hit me: this struggle is not some strange, distant, foreign thing. It’s here and it’s now, and the work continues. I am also a part of the struggle; the work is mine, as well. Continue reading

St. Romero

By Chava Redonnet
From her weekly bulletain at Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church

At about 4 pm on Saturday, October 13, Ruth Orantes, Gustavo and I pulled into a gas station across from the statue of El Salvador del Mundo in San Salvador, about 2 miles from the cathedral. Sometimes the journey from Santa Ana feels a bit endless, but all of a sudden, we were there. Ruth parked the car and we joined the gathering throng. There was music and dancing, vendors selling t-shirts and keychains, posters and even an umbrella, all with the joyful message that our beloved Monseñor Romero was at last to be officially declared a saint. A giant poster erected by the comunidades eclesial de base [the base communities of the churches] declared, “Tu pueblo te hizo santo” (Your people have made you a saint), with a picture of Monseñor Romero’s face made up of thousands of photos of Salvadorans, also martyred during the civil war of 1980-92. The atmosphere was peaceful, joyful, full of good energy. We might have been mostly strangers to each other but we were bonded in our love and joy in the moment. Smiles came easily. Continue reading

This Lent

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This Lent, which we observe amid blood and sorrow, ought to presage a transfiguration of our people, a resurrection of our nation. The church invites us to a modern form of penance, of fasting and prayer – perennial Christian practices, but adapted to the circumstances of each people

Lenten fasting is not the same thing in those lands where people eat well as is a Lent among our third-world peoples, undernourished as they are, living in a perpetual Lent, always fasting. For those who eat well, Lent is a call to austerity, a call to give away in order to share with those in need. But in poor lands, in homes where there is hunger, Lent should be observed in order to give to the sacrifice that is everyday life the meaning of the cross.

But it should not be out of a mistaken sense of resignation. God does not want that. Rather, feeling in one’s flesh the consequences of sin and injustice, one is stimulated to work for social justice and a
genuine love for the poor. Our Lent should awaken a sense of social justice.

  • Archbishop Oscar Romero