Oscar Romero and the Communion of the Saints
Orbis, $20, 174 pp.
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, Orbis Books has published a pictorial biography of Romero that is beautifully rendered. It will serve for years as a substantive introduction to the life, death, and legacy of this great Latin American saint—there can be no other word for him.
The text is by Scott Wright, a North American who met Romero in Mexico in 1979 and subsequently spent years living with villagers in the mountains of El Salvador. He accompanied those forced to flee to Honduras during the bloodiest stages of the Salvadoran civil war, that barbaric conflict in which the United States played a nefarious but still officially unacknowledged role. For decades, Wright has worked with Salvadoran refugees in this country and has lobbied to change U.S. policy toward Central America.
Wright intimately understands the spirit of the Salvadoran people and what they suffered during the war. He also has a thorough knowledge of the literature (in Spanish, English, and other languages) that has examined Romero’s life and thought over the past three decades. He draws on previous biographies, on the remarkable stories of Salvadorans who personally knew Romero, and on Romero’s own writings, radio speeches, episcopal homilies, and pastoral letters. Romero had been an editor, had run a diocesan radio station, was the secretary of his country’s bishops’ conference, and served as bishop for seven years before...