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Oscar Romero was a saint to the Salvadoran people long before the Vatican canonized him

Oscar Romero was a saint to the Salvadoran people long before the Vatican canonized him
Pope Francis blesses a portrait of Saint Oscar Romero during a special audience for pilgrims from El Salvador at the Vatican on Oct. 15. (Vatican Media Handout)

To the editor: In 2010 I flew from Minnesota to El Salvador to join in the commemoration of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero’s 1980 assassination. I returned to my privileged life in the United States with two deep impressions. (“‘I want this day to heal me’: For thousands, the canonization of Oscar Romero was deeply personal,” Oct 15)

First, the Salvadoran people have suffered a long and tragic history of violence and oppression, much of it aided and abetted by U.S. government policies and actions. My second impression was that Salvadorans canonized their monseñor long before Rome did. In chants and signs, “viva Romero” was everywhere.

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Just before his assassination, this courageous man who would become a Roman Catholic saint said this: “If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. … A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish.”

Jay Lindgren, St. Louis Park, Minn.

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To the editor: While it is not known who shot Romero in 1980, it is well known that ex-Salvadoran Army Maj. Roberto D’Aubuisson was the person who planned and directed his assassination.

D’Aubuisson was trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, where many Latin American soldiers were trained by U.S. military officials. Those soldiers were involved in brutal massacres and human rights abuses for decades. The Salvadoran military received $1 million each day from the U.S. government in the 1980s.

Thus, while it is true that Romero’s gunman is unknown, we know who killed Romero: the American government, which was concerned that democratic regimes would come into power that might introduce policies benefiting the majority rather than U.S. corporations.

Romero was a prophetic, nonviolent voice who said, “If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people.” He has again risen from the dead — and not only in the Salvadoran people. Wherever people are struggling to be free, Romero is there, loving those who are working for dignity and justice.

Ralph Armbruster Sandoval, Santa Barbara

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