Cardinal Keith O'Brien chaired a memorial event for Oscar Romeo in the Sacred Heart church hall in Laurieston, Edinburgh last week. Organised by the Scottish aid agency, SCIAF, speakers included Sr Pamela Hussey SHCJ and Denis Canavan MSP. Sr Pamela said that it was particularly apt that the event was being held in Holy Week. As scripture described the dark forces closing in on Jesus, Sr Pamela explained how similarly dark forces closed in on Archbishop Romero, determined to silence his fearless condemnation of human rights abuses and murders. Sr Pamela, who has written extensively on Romero, said: "He felt compelled to speak almost against his will. His martyrdom grew out of his relationship with his people where he also found his strength and joy. He did not shy away from speaking the truth because it was God's truth." At a time when people were disappearing and torture was commonplace, Archbishop Romero's homilies became renowned. He would list the names and dates of those who had vanished. Denis Canavan attended one of Archbishop Romero's Masses in El Salvador and remembered the massive impact made by the man and the service. Denis said: "When I met Archbishop Romero he made such an impression on me that I knew I'd remember him forever. There was standing room only at the Sunday Mass in the Cathedral. People had walked for miles to attend. The Archbishop spoke for over an hour. The people were hungry for the truth. They knew the government distorted the truth so they relied on the Archbishop. "Much of the news was sad news about more killings and disappearances but he gave them hope and vision, and faith that one day the vision would be reality. His enemies were listening as well as his faithful and I remember thinking he was taking a tremendous risk to speak in that way." Cardinal O'Brien reminded the audience that they had an unique opportunity to continue Archbishop Romero's legacy this year by supporting Make Poverty History. They can raise their voices in defence of the poorest of the poor by calling for fairer trade rules, more and better aid, and the cancellation of debt when the G8 summit takes place at Gleneagles. Source: SCIAF
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