Whether or not he knew it, just before being assassinated while delivering mass in the Chapel of the Hospital de la Divina Providencia in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero uttered the words that would act as a rallying cry for his supporters: “If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. … A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish” (Sandoval 2018).
The Catholic church is in the midst of an institutional crisis as allegations and evidence of sexual abuse by members of the church, and cover-ups by their superiors, continue to be exposed in immense quantities. Chile has found itself at the forefront of this scandal as various raids around the country have led authorities hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by clerics, bishops, priests, and other non-priest members of the country’s diocese.
In 1997, El Salvador’s Congress made a motion to criminalise abortion, with legislators finalizing their decision without opening the case for public debate or consulting any medical professionals. The campaign was headed by a number of anti-choice groups backed by the Catholic church, and the opposition, which took the form of a few women’s rights activists, was literally silenced when their microphones were disconnected during the trial (Lakhani 2017).
The Vatican has announced that it will reveal its classified archives on the desaparecidos (disappeared) of Argentina to the families of the victims.1 The decades-old documents contain communications between the Catholic Church in Argentina and the military government about the thousands of government kidnappings and murders of civilians during the military dictatorship of 1976-1983.2 Pope Francis, who himself was a cardinal in his native Argentina during the time of the dictatorship, led t
Although many families remain physically separated by the U.S.-Mexico border, some have found a different way to cross the fence. A Catholic mass held this past week allowed families to connect despite the physical barrier that lies between them.
Hundreds of women sit behind bars in El Salvador punished for defying the ban on abortion. Many, such as María Teresa Rivera are pleading they are wrongly jailed for having suffered miscarriages or stillbirths. Three years ago Rivera miscarried and awoke handcuffed to her hospital bed surrounded by seven policemen who proceeded to charge her with murder.1 After an eight-month trial, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated murder.