Friday, June 14, 2013

OSCAR ROMERO & THE “F4F”



In the United States, the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah, is urging the faithful to prayFor martyrs such as Archbishop Oscar Romero,” on the first day of the Fortnight for Freedom—the U.S. Bishops’ campaign for religious liberty.  In a message recommending prayers for each of the days of the campaign, which runs from June 21-July 4 (U.S. Independence Day), Bishop John Wester recommendstaking 10 minutes each day of the Fortnight to pray based on the daily reflections.”  He explains that “The reflections are in the form of a litany which may be repeated in its entirety each day, or built upon day by day.”  The Romero prayer, set for day one, reads as follows.
June 21:  For martyrs such as Archbishop Oscar Romero, who are killed for practicing their faith in the political arena, we pray: Jesus, courage of martyrs, have mercy on us.
Last year, when the Fortnight for Freedom campaign was first observed, the National Catholic Register, the oldest national Catholic newspaper in the United States (owned by EWTN), recommended watching the movie “Romero” (1989) on the third day of the “F4F” because June 23 is the Feast of St. Joseph Cafasso, a social reformer who defended prisoners and convicts of the state and opposed state intrusion into Church affairs.  The Register noted that, similarly, Romero was “a courageous defender of human rights and of the Church against an oppressive militarized government terrorizing its own people under the rubric of fighting communism.”
The F4F campaign has been criticized by liberals, including some Catholics, as exaggerating the level of religious intolerance in the USA, where the government clashed with the Church over a mandate in the new federal health care law that required private employers—including Church affiliated institutions—to provide coverage for abortions.  Some have questioned whether such infringement on freedom of conscience is tantamount to Church persecution.  When abortion was liberalized in El Salvador over the Church’s objections, Archbishop Romero protested that, “This is truly a persecution of the Church for this law is clearly against the morality that the Church preaches.”
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