Friday, May 17, 2013

THE DIARY OF OSCAR ROMERO


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The UK-based Archbishop Romero Trust has loaded on its website—already a rich treasure trove of Romero materials—the complete pastoral diaries from the years during which Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador.  According to a FaceBook post by Tony Lester, the Trust “has published in .PDF format, for non-commercial use, Monseñor’s Diary in English and in Spanish.”  Lester points out that, “The original format of his diary was in audio as he recorded it most evenings in a cassette recorder [photo]—The Trust has also published the audio files so that it is possible to read the text and hear his voice at the same time.”
With this addition, the Trust now makes available to English language readers a comprehensive Archbishop Romero library, including: his homilies (Spanish language audios and English translations), his pastoral letters (in translation) and, now, his diary (Spanish language audios and transcriptions, and English translations).  The release comes in advance of a possible beatification of Romero after Church officials announced that Pope Francis had given the go-ahead to advance the process after a period of stagnation.  The Archbishop Romero trust was established in 2007 to promote knowledge and awareness of the life and work of Archbishop Romero and organize annual commemorations on the anniversary of his death.  Patrons of the Trust include leading British clerics, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, who subsidized the diary project.

Romero’s tape-recorded diaries will provide scholars and anyone interested in Romero a unique and sometimes dramatic insight into Romero’s ministry as Archbishop of San Salvador.  In the recordings, Romero narrates his daily activities, including various meetings, ranging from mundane diocesan business to high level negotiations with government and opposition leaders, providing high drama and political intrigue.  Romero also records his impressions after meetings with Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, as well as his frustration resulting from in-fighting and division among the Salvadoran bishops.  Recorded at the end of each day, the recordings often reflect the wear and fatigue of Romero’s challenging ministry.
Translations of the journals had previously been published as “A Shepherd’s Diary” (Translated by Irene Hodgson).  The audio tapes provided the narrative for a recent documentary about Romero called “Monseñor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero” (2011).

The Trust’s collections constitute this Blog’s exclusive source for Romero related materials in English because of the high, scholarly quality of the work.
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