Oscar Romero and the Role of the Catholic Church in El Salvador Essay

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The Role of Romero vs. the Catholic Church: The Salvadoran Civil War
The tragedies of the civil war in El Salvador brought focus to the many issues of oppression, under-representation, and inequality apparent amongst the Salvadoran working class during the later twentieth century. The outbreak of the war began much like civil wars in neighboring countries, consisting of the lower class demanding land and policy reformations, as elites feared the uprisings would result in socialist-geared politics that jeopardized their status. Amidst the fighting between the two social classes, the Catholic Church, as a whole, maintained a somewhat neutrality status and refused to publically support one group over the other. Thus, much opposition to the
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The Catholic Church’s abstaining silence throughout the duration of the Salvadoran civil war proved to give a sort of endorsement to the actions against campesinos and political opponents, along with the loss of hundreds of lives, including that of Archbishop Romero. The question then remains as to how the Church reacted to such human rights offenses or if it considered them violations at all? Lecture 7 discusses the potential reasoning behind the different reactions to human rights abuses from country to country. Though El Salvador is not mentioned in detail, the church and state separation can be seen as the main causal for the “human rights stance of bishops” which can then explain the role the bishops took in El Salvador when they consciously chose not defend Romero’s objectives. Other reasons can be found in the way the in which the bishops viewed the efforts of the war. Many bishops knew very well that the campesinos, “were likely to support and join the insurgents” (Wood 24) and thus chose to not encourage and cater to indirect support of the guerilla groups.
In order to have efficiently deterred the rising violence between the two groups, the Church in El Salvador should have sought more outside help from the Vatican in order to properly carry