Nine priests, a bishop, and a deacon have been killed by the repression in El Salvador. Following are the words of a brother of one of the martyred priests, excerpted from a conversation with members of Sojourners' staff. When this article appeared, he was in exile studying for the priesthood and requested that his name be withheld.--The Editors
The situation in my country is very grave. The bishops have expelled all the seminarians simply because of their participation in a May 1 demonstration in solidarity with the workers. Any priest who becomes involved in the social needs of the people, in the Christian communities, is accused of being a subversive.
The story of the church in El Salvador has been one of bishops who were chosen because they were friends of the military and of the powerful families who dominate the country and want to guarantee that the church will support them. Bishop Oscar Romero was chosen as archbishop of San Salvador because it was believed that he too would have that mentality. He was one of the first bishops who opposed the priests who were trying to incarnate Vatican II; he was one of the ones most filled with fear. But his conversion to the people of the church made him change.
The conservative bishops feared that those of us in the diocese of San Salvador would pervert the others. And so they removed us from the area.
One very close friend of mine was later assassinated by the military. He and I loved one another like brothers. I can give witness to his beautiful gospel and pastoral work among the people. But the authorities and the bishops did not trust him.