Commentary on the Third Work of Justice and Peace

from the homilies of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador

+Make injustice visible ---- witness, remember, teach, proclaim,
tell. Light candles, do not curse the darkness. Third Work of
Justice and Peace

Let us be today's Christians. Let us not take fright at the
boldness of today's church. With Christ's light let us illuminate
even the most hideous caverns of the human person: torture, jail,
plunder, want, chronic illness. The oppressed must be saved, not
with a revolutionary salvation in merely human fashion, but with
the holy revolution of the Son of Man, who dies on the cross to
cleanse God's image, which is soiled in today's humanity, a
humanity so enslaved, so selfish, so sinful. September 23, 1979

What good are beautiful highways and airports, beautiful
buildings full of spacious apartments, if they are only put
together with the blood of the poor, who are not going to enjoy
them? July 15, 1979

I denounce especially the absolutizing of wealth. This is the
great evil in El Salvador: wealth, private property, as an
untouchable absolute. Woe to the one who touches that high
tension wire! It burns. August 12, 1979

When we preach the Lord's word, we decry not only the injustices
of the social order We decry every sin that is night, that is
darkness: drunkenness, gluttony, lust, adultery, abortion,
everything that is the reign of iniquity and sin. Let them all
disappear from our society.- November 27, 1977.

A religion of Sunday Mass but of unjust weeks does not please
the Lord. A religion of much praying but with hypocrisy in the
heart is not Christian. A church that sets itself up only to be
well off, to have a lot of money and comfort, but that forgets to
protest injustices, would not be the true church of our divine
Redeemer. December 4, 1977.

It is not an advantage of great value to be well off on this
earth by betraying Christ and his church. It is an advantage
that is very cheap, one that is to be left behind with this life.
It is terrible to hear from the lips of Christ: "Depart from me,
wicked, accursed ones. I do not know you. I will be ashamed of
whoever is ashamed of me."

Those who put their faith in the Risen One and work for a world
more just, who protests against the injustices of the present
system, against the abuses of unjust authorities, against the
wrongfulness of humans exploiting humans, all those who begin
their struggle with the resurrection of the great Liberator --
they alone are authentic Christians. March 26, 1978

To those who bear in their hand, or in their consciences, the
burden of bloodshed, of outrages, of the victimized, innocent or
guilty, but still victimized in their human dignity, I say: be
converted. You cannot find God on those paths of torture and
outrages. God is found on the ways of justice, of conversion, of
truth. August 6, 1978

What I want to say here in the cathedral pulpit is what the
church is, and in the name of the church I want to support what
is good, applaud it, encourage it, console the victims of
atrocities, of injustices, and also with courage disclose the
atrocities, the tortures, the disappearances of prisoners, the
social injustice. This is not engaging in politics; this is
building up the church and carrying out the church's duty as
imposed by the church's identity. My conscience is undisturbed,
and I call on all of you: let us build up the true church!
September 10, 1978

A prophetic people, as today's gospel says, seeks out those who
are wrong so as to win them for God, and the prophet who speaks
of the punishment due the negligent sentinel also praises the
mercy of the God who calls. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,
especially those of you who hate me, you dear brothers and
sisters who think I am preaching violence, who defame me and know
it isn't true, you that have hands stained with murder, with
torture, with atrocity, with injustice -- be converted. I love
you deeply. I am sorry for you because you go on the way to ruin.
September 10, 1978

Everyone who struggles for justice, everyone who makes just
claims in unjust surroundings, is working for God's reign, even
though not a Christian. The church does not comprise all of God's
reign, God's reign goes beyond the church's boundaries. The
church values everything that is in tune with its struggle to set
up God's reign. A church that tries only to keep itself pure and
uncontaminated would not be a church of God's service to people.
The authentic church is one that does not mind conversing with
prostitutes and publicans and sinners, as Christ did -- and with
Marxists and those of various political movements -- in order to
bring them salvation's true message. December 2, 1978

The church in Latin America has much to say about humanity. It
looks at the sad picture portrayed by the Puebla conference:
faces of landless peasants, mistreated and killed by the forces
of power, faces of laborers arbitrarily dismissed and without a
living wage for their families, faces of the elderly, faces of
outcasts, faces of slum dwellers, faces of poor children who from
infancy begin to feel the cruel sting of social injustice. For
them, it seems, there is no future -- no school, no high school,
no university. By what right have we cataloged persons as
first-class persons or second-class persons? In the theology of
human nature there is only one class: children of God. March 2,
1980

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