Thursday, June 27, 2013


L’Osservatore Romano published a cover design for its women’s insert with a novelty: it depicted a man’s face, that of Archbishop Óscar A. Romero. “The picture of Romero is a tribute to his words” in honor “of motherhood, the role of women as mothers,” says Lucetta Scaraffia, of the official Vatican newspaper. The article published in that edition cites the words of Archbishop Romero, in which he says:
[N]ot everyone will have the honor of offering, in a physical way, their blood, or handing over their life for the faith. God, however, asks everyone who believes in him to have that spirit of martyrdom. In other words, everyone should be willing to die for their faith even though the Lord does not grant them this honor. If we are so disposed, then when our time comes to give an accounting of our lives, we can say: Lord, I was willing to give my life for you. In fact, you have given your life to God because this offering of one’s life does not only occur when one is killed for the faith. To give one’s life and to have this spirit of martyrdom means that one is faithful to one’s obligations, to prayer, to the honest fulfillment of one’s duties. In the fulfillment of our everyday obligations we are like the mother who with no great emotional display, with the simplicity of motherly martyrdom, gives birth, nourishes, and cares for her children. This is indeed the meaning of giving one’s life.
Scaraffia explains of the words quoted, “These words are close to those often pronounced by Pope Francis in his daily homilies, in which he recalls with affection and admiration grandmothers and mothers who transmit life together with the faith to their children and grandchildren.” But, we ask ourselves: are these the true words of Archbishop Romero, and do they have the meaning that the article gives them? In this Year of Faith, we study the sermons and teachings of Archbishop Romero to seek a more complete understanding of his theology and philosophy. Therefore, we review the content and context of Archbishop Romero words on daily martyrdom cited in the article.
First of all, the words are authentic expressions by Archbishop Romero. The martyr bishop spoke these words in a Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima in May 1977, explaining the spirit of sacrifice and martyrdom inspired by the Virgin. “In the vision from the book of Revelation,” says Romero, “Mary comes out to meet this Pilgrim Church that is willing to accept martyrdom and suffering and tells us that she is a sign for those courageous individuals who do not betray their faith,” and are willing to go as far as to martyrdom in the name of Christ. In addition, the quoted words of Archbishop Romero have great similarity to the words of Pope Francis, most of all, in his «Angelus» of June 23, 2013. On this occasion, the Pontiff said:
Today we have more martyrs than in the first centuries! However, there is also daily martyrdom, which may not entail death but is still a “loss of life” for Christ, by doing one’s duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus, the logic of gift, of sacrifice. Let us think: how many dads and moms every day put their faith into practice by offering up their own lives in a concrete way for the good of the family! Think about this! How many priests, brothers and sisters carry out their service generously for the Kingdom of God! How many young people renounce their own interests in order to dedicate themselves to children, the disabled, the elderly.... They are martyrs too! Daily martyrs, martyrs of everyday life!
As we can see, the words of Pope Francis are very similar to the statements of Archbishop Romero in the quote mentioned above. Therefore, the use of this phrase of Archbishop Romero, about the “martyrdom of everyday life” in L’Osservatore Romano, is an authentic and faithful quotation of his words, both in content and in context.

See also:

In the Words of Archb. Romero—I (Spanish)
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