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The miracle that John Paul II refused to perform

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The miracle that John Paul II refused to perform

                                    Eduardo Galeano

In the Spring of 1979, the Archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero, traveled to the Vatican. He requested, pleaded, begged for an audience with Pope John Paul II:


-Wait for your turn.
-No one knows.
-Come back tomorrow.


Finally, taking a place in the line of the faithful waiting for a blessing, one more among the many, Romero caught His Holiness by surprise, and was able to steal a few minutes.


He tried to give the pope a voluminous report, photographs, testimonies, but His Holiness gave it back to him:

-I don't have the time to read so much stuff!

And Romero blurted out that thousands of Salvadorans had been tortured and murdered by the military, among them many Catholics and five priests, and just the day before, on the eve of this audience, the army had riddled twenty five persons with bullets at the doors of the cathedral.


The head of the Church bluntly stopped Romero:

-Do not exaggerate, Mr. Archbishop! 

The encounter was all but finished. 

The heir to Saint Peter urged, commanded, ordered:

-You must deal with the government! A good Christian does not create problems with the authorities! The Church wants peace and harmony!


Ten months later, Archbishop Romero fell, assassinated in a parish of San Salvador. The bullet struck him during mass, as he was elevating the host.  From Rome, His Holiness condemned the crime. But he forgot to condemn the criminals.


Years later, in the Cuscatlan park, an extremely long wall commemorates the civilian victims of the war. Thousands and thousands of names are engraved in white, on black marble. The name of Archbishop Romero is the only one that is gastadito, worn down. 

Gastadito by the people's fingers.


                                               Eduardo Galeano, in his book, "Espejos"


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