Blogger discusses Romero’s lasting legacy

Carlos Colorado is the man behind the blog “Super Martyrio,” which has recently become widely recognized as an important source of information and insight about Archbishop Oscar Romero and his cause for beatification. In this interview with Our Sunday Visitor, we learn more about Colorado, his blog and his very personal connections with the slain archbishop.

Our Sunday Visitor: Tell us about yourself and your blog.

Carlos Colorado: My blog, “Super Martyrio,” is a special interest, niche blog whose focus is exclusively tracking Archbishop Oscar Romero’s beatification cause. Appurtenant to that, I also analyze the merits of his case (his life, sermons, legacy, etc.). I am a Salvadoran-American attorney in Southern California, but I was born and raised in El Salvador. I go back from time to time, and I have made a number of Romero-related contacts that allow me to keep tabs on things. Mostly, however, I follow the story through research and investigation. I was a journalism major in college, and I guess I consider myself a freelance or hobby journalist.

OSV: Why such an interest in Archbishop Romero?

Colorado: I had the blessing and grace to meet Archbishop Romero when I was a boy growing up in El Salvador. His impact on me was significant — and I don’t think I was the only one to have that reaction! He was my childhood hero. I wanted to become a priest when I was young, due to his inspiration. I had been recently relocated to the United States when he was killed, and the news was very traumatic. It became a minor mission in my life to unravel the story: why they killed him and what made him tick.

OSV: What does Archbishop Romero mean to the people of El Salvador today?

Colorado: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (the postulator of Archbishop Romero’s sainthood cause) likens Romero to Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, who was the primate of Poland, meaning the figure head of his national church, and he was called “the primate of the millennium,” because of the singular stature he achieved as the unquestionable leader of the Polish nation, despite his lack of a political title or government role. Salvadorans simply refer to Romero as a “prophet,” meaning someone who, like Moses, fulfills a function that has principally religious connotations, but also implicit political overtones as the foremost voice and conscience of the nation. Romero was called the “voice of the voiceless”; in El Salvador, that was the vast majority of the populace! A recent [Salvadoran] newspaper editorial called Romero “a new Founding Father for a new country.” Most Salvadorans see Romero this way, especially the poor. Not all Salvadorans share that view, of course.

OSV: You believe it likely that you went to confession to Archbishop Romero.

Colorado: I lived in San Salvador. I went to confession at the cathedral during Lent, when I was 9 years old. When my confessor spoke, I recognized the voice. I had listened to the broadcast of Romero’s Masses every Sunday; he was my childhood hero, so it was an unmistakable voice. I believed I was talking to Archbishop Romero during my confession, and continued to believe it afterwards. But as time has passed, doubts crept in. Today, I embrace the uncertainty because it lends mysticism to the episode, and Romero was a mystical being.

OSV: How has Romero affected your understanding of yourself as a Christian, or of the Church?

Colorado: For me, Romero has always been a touchstone to verify the supernatural claims of the Church — an echo of Christ. I lived the darkness and anguish of the Salvadoran civil war in exile in the United States, and the Salvadoran refugee community received spiritual nourishment from the memory of Romero and of his martyrdom during those dark and painful years. He made religion relevant to our lives, not relegated to some storied past. I remember hearing the skepticism of a relative who pooh-poohed the relevance of holiness amidst the corruption of the contemporary world. “In our time, there are no saints; the age of the saints was in the distant past,” she said. Well, as she said that, I internally knew it not to be true — because of Romero.

Barry Hudock is the author of “Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication: John Courtney Murray’s Journey toward Vatican II” (Liturgical Press, $19.95).