Thursday, July 17, 2014


There is an excellent documentary, Monsenor:The final journey of Oscar Romero. Unfortunately outside of a couple of YouTube excerpts it appears to only be available for purchase. You can instant rent damn near anything on Amazon, but not this one. I'm not recommending buying on my say so, but a church library might have a copy.

If the film were just about Romero I probably wouldn't have bothered. However, it makes extensive use of archival news film from those last three years. Army patrols, bodies, army patrols, frightened men standing to one side with their arms tied behind their backs. A mark of the death squads. More army patrols. Mothers gathering together to demand to know what happened to their disappeared children. One women had four sons. They were all missing. I doubt if she ever found out happened to them. Mostly peaceful street demonstrations that were cut short in a hail of bullets. Crowded, narrow city streets. Almost claustrophobic even on film.

The interview that stands out for me is with a woman who was a lay churchworker at the time. She held Bible studies in her home. During one meeting a newcomer asked her if she knew that three men were sitting in a car outside her house watching who was coming and going? Gulp time. I don't think it ever got so bad that being discovered with a Bible could get you killed. But, next time somebody complains about how bad Christians have it here ask them if anybody has tagged a building in their neighborhood with "be a patriot, kill a priest lately."

In fact. The next time some paranoid idjit natters on about how oppressive this government is gently remind them so far our children aren't being disappeared, our neighbors aren't being beaten or worse; their bodies found in the local dump or by the side of the road. In most of the country we don't hear gunfire or screams in the night.

Even after he was murdered the killers couldn't take a day off. The crowds for his funeral overflowed to the plaza outside the cathdral. Somebody threw a smoke bomb and the killing began. It continued and went on for ten long, tortured years. Those kids on the border are just the tip of the iceberg. We've sown the wind. I hope we can survive the whirlwind.

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