Stanley Rother, Pray for us!
On July 28, 1981, Rev. Stanley Rother, a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City -- who had ministered in the village of Santiago Atitlan from 1968 -- was murdered by the Guatemalan government because he loved and defended the poor and preached the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is a condemnation of all tyrants and social evils and violences such as were prevalent in Guatemala at that time. .
One of the unanswered questions about the murder of Fr. Rother is what role did the United States government have in his death? The US had meddled with Guatemalan politics for decades. The present outcry about Russia meddling in US politics is somewhat hypocritical given our own history of meddling in the internal affairs of other nations for the past hundred years and more. The only truly democratic government elected in Guatemala was overthrown in the 1950s by the US at the behest of US corporations and wealthy Guatemalans worried about proposals of the new Guatemalan government to distribute unused lands to poor tenant farmers. Since then its been one dictator after another, grinding the face of the poor into the dust, ruling with grotesque violence.
That's a subject that bears more research because, given the history of the Guatamalan civil war, it is likely that just as the US government sent the gun and bullets used to kill the Blessed Oscar Romero in El Salvador, the blood of the Blessed Stanley Rother, whose first feast day we celebrate today, is a shameful stain on the flag of our own country.
Blessed Stanley Rother,
pray for us, that we will repent of our sins of empire.
Teach us the meaning of a civilization of love and compassion.
Show us the way towards hope by helping us to live our lives so that
we cry out continually for peace and justice and mercy.
Never let us run into the streets anymore crying
CRUCIFY HIM CRUCIFY HIM CRUCIFY HIM.
O God, who by the preaching and teaching of the
Blessed Martyr-Priest Stanley Rother has given us an
example of love and compassion in the face of violence and greed,
grant that we who reverence his life and ministry may also
imitate his fidelity to truth, justice, compassion, and peace.
Soon come the promise of Mary, that all tyrants will be cast down,
the proud scattered, the lowly exalted, and the hungry filled with good things,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.