In Romero’s time, El Salvador was ruled by a few rich people. Many of them did not want to share their wealth, especially land, with the poor people in the countryside, known as ‘campesinos’. The government and army supported the rich and violently oppressed the campesinos.
Father Oscar Romero was a shy, traditional priest and a friend of many rich and powerful people. When he became an Archbishop, these people thought he would help them to control the campesinos.
Then Romero’s friend, Father Grande, was shot dead after criticising the government. Romero was upset and angry. He said that the murder must be investigated. This never happened. From then on, Romero became a voice for those who had no power against the violence they suffered.
In his sermon on 23 March 1980, Romero said “ In the name of God and in the name of this suffering people...I beg you, I implore you, I order you, in the name of God, stop the repression!"
The next day, Romero was saying Mass in a small chapel. A car drew up and a gunman fired through the open church door. Romero was killed at the altar. After Romero’s death, there was a civil war in El Salvador. Many people, mostly campesinos, were killed or disappeared. In 1992, the civil war ended. The people of El Salvador are now working to build a more just and peaceful society.