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Archbishop Oscar Romero remembered

Archbishop Oscar Romero addressed these words to the national guard in El Salvador, the day before he was brutally murdered in San Salvador on 24 March 1980: “Brothers, you belong to your own people. You kill your own brother peasants… the law of God should prevail that says do not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God.”

30 years on, this advocate of justice, nonviolence and reconciliation was remembered in services, gatherings and articles around the world – including events in 16 cities in the UK.

In El Salvador, president Mauricio Funes issued an official apology for the murder of the archbishop on 24 March, saying: “I am seeking pardon in the name of the state.”

The integrity of Oscar Romero’s life, putting words into action on behalf of the poor and persecuted during a time of disappearances, torture and repression, and challenging state violence, is an encouragement to all those committed to nonviolent change, and a reminder to Christians that witness and action for peace are an essential part of our faith.

Pat Gaffney is general secretary of Pax Christi.