Church leaders praise martyred Romero

21 May 2015

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Seven martyrs: new painted stone statues by Rory Young, given by Richard and Susan Walduck, have been installed in the niches in the nave screen of St Albans Abbey. They are (left to right): Oscar Romero, who is to be beatified tomorrow; St Alban Roe, a recusant priest held for a time in the Abbey Gatehouse before his execution in 1642; St Amphibalus, whom St Alban sheltered; St Alban; George Tankerfield, a Marian martyr in St Albans; St Elisabeth Romanova, killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918; and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Seven martyrs: new painted stone statues by Rory Young, given by Richard and Susan Walduck, have been installed in the niches in the nave screen of ...

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 their faith.

"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 orders.

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," they said.

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. Amen."

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