Today is a day many people have been waiting for a very long time: the beatification of Oscar Romero, one of my great heroes.
Romero’s path to sainthood, however, has not been without controversy. There are some who during his life viewed him (and some who continue to view him) as a Marxist or, in one commentator’s words “a poster boy for the left-wing cause.”
I think there is no better answer to the charge of Marxism than the words Romero spoke during his homily on the feast of the Ascension in 1977, three years before his assassination. The message of the bishops in the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, he preached
condemns this false understanding of tradition that wants to present the Church as simply spiritual – a Church of sacraments and prayers but with no social commitment or commitment to history. We would betray our mission as pastors, if we were to reduce evangelization to mere practices of individual piety and the participation in non-incarnated sacraments. The Pope says: Evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 29). My bothers and sisters, let us not place our faith in some corner and reduce it to some private place and then live in public as though we had no faith. The Council said that this divorce between faith and our private life is one of the great errors of our time (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 43). So great is this error that in the name of this error, the Church is called subversive because she wants to lead Christians to a faith commitment in their concrete life. My dear Catholics, let us study this right doctrine and wisdom of the Church. Then we will understand that priests and Christians who live their Christian commitment in the world are far from being communists or Marxists or subversives.
Blessed Oscar Romero, pray for us!