THE leaders of the main Churches in England have issued a joint
statement ahead of the beatification of the murdered Archbishop
Oscar Romero of El Salvador.
The six Presidents of Churches Together in England - who include
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and represent the Church of England,
the Roman Catholic Church, Free Churches, Lutherans, Orthodox, and
Pentecostal Churches, and the Quakers - said that Archbishop Romero
"stands in a historic line of those who have been martyred for
"The Presidents encourage all to work and pray that his death
thirty-five years ago and the deaths of other Christian martyrs are
not in vain; and that the day comes when the peace of God reigns in
all our hearts and lives."
Archbishop Romero was a well-known critic of the repressive
government of El Salvador, and publicly condemned its torture and
assassination of its opponents. The Archbishop was shot while
celebrating mass in 1980, a day after he urged Salvadoran soldiers,
as Christians, to reject injustice by disobeying the government's
A service of beatification for Archbishop Romero will be held in
the capital of El Salvador, San Salvador, on Saturday.
The Presidents' statement also expressed their grief at
increasing violence against Christians across the world. "Receiving
reports, in some cases eye-witness reports, of martyrdom in Iraq,
Iran, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, among other places, the
Presidents call upon all people of goodwill to uphold respect for
the sanctity of life and the flourishing of every human being,"
The statement ends with a prayer: "Almighty God, you called your
servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to
give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: grant that,
inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El
Salvador, we may without fear or favour witness to your Word who
abides, your Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom,
with you and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever.