Sunday, August 05, 2007
Archbishop Romero: Friend of Opus Dei
via Wheat and Reeds, the suprising (and delightful) news that Archbishop Romero was a son of Opus Dei. This from a letter Archbishop Romero wrote to Paul VI, after St. Escriva's d:
"I had the good fortune of knowing Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer personally and of receiving from him support and fortitude to be faithful to the inalterable doctrine of Christ and to serve with apostolic zeal the Holy Roman Church and this land of Santiago de Maria, which Your Holiness has entrusted to me.Source: Romero & Escriva - Fr Ray Blake @ St Mary Magdalen (Brighton).
James R. Brockman, S.J., in "The Spiritual Journey of Oscar Romero", writes:
Romero remained an auxiliary bishop of San Salvador until October of 1974, when he was named bishop of Santiago de Maria, a rural diocese. He remained in Santiago until named archbishop of San Salvador in February of 1977, at the age of fifty-nine. During these five years, his retreat notes show him continuing to work on the problems of getting along with others and trying to organize his life better, as he had in earlier retreats. At least two of the retreats he made were preached by priests of the secular institute Opus Dei, and during these years and perhaps earlier his ordinary confessor and spiritual director was one or another priest of Opus Dei. While he was bishop of Santiago de Maria, he wrote to Pope Paul VI to appeal for the beatification of [Escriva].
That said, John Allen Jr., in his Opus Dei (currently reading), cites the same letter but adds the cautionary note:
"this letter was written before the 1977 murder in El Salvador of Father Rutilio Grande, an event that "radicalized" Romero and led him to distance himself from some earlier conservative views."
Still, I wonder to what degree it estranged Romero from Opus Dei itself?
Romero regularly denounced human rights abuses being committed by the Salvadoran armed forces and “death squads” and was viewed by the Salvadoran far right as a threat to its political agenda.(From Center for Justice & Accountability).
My own introduction to Romero was long before my conversion, by way of Oliver Stone's Salvador and later through the Catholic Worker. Stone of course opts for a more dramatic and over the top version of the assassination.
On the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Romero, see: