Film Lectio I - Romero
Starts 10am Wednesday March 27
Repeated 6pm Thursday Mar 28
The recent beatification of Óscar Romero, has drawn new attention to the gap between public perception and reality regarding this popular but controverted figure in El Salvador’s turbulent history. The first feature film from the Paulist Fathers’ moviemaking division, John Duigan’s Romero tells the true story of Latin America’s best-known and most revered modern martyr.
Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Goldamez, Archbishop of El Salvador, was assisinated in 1980, a man whom John Paul II described as a "zealous pastor who gave his life for his flock."
The film and reflections will be facilitated by Marie Biddle rsj and Michael Whelan SM.
Nobody will be turned away simply because they cannot afford to pay. Offer a donation if you cannot pay the full registration fee.
Presenter: Marie Biddle rsj and Michael Whelan SM
Where: Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington St, The Rocks, Sydney
When: 3 Wednesday mornings, 10am – 12noon, March 27, April 3, 10
Repeated: 3 Thursday evenings, 6pm - 8pm, March 28, April 4, 11
Please register before the course starts so that notes will be available.
Directed by John Duigan. Produced by Ellwood E. Kieser. Written by John Sacret Young. Photographed by Geoff Burton. Edited by Frans Vandenburg. Music by Gabriel Yared.
“The assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, in 1980, provoked at the time the usual international reaction of shock and protest, which is to say, it was ignored by most people and quickly forgotten by many of the rest. ....
Romero was shot to death while celebrating Mass. He was, at the time, not only the spiritual leader of El Salvador's Catholics but one of the most outspoken critics of the government - a government portrayed in this film as little more than a holding company for the economic exploiters of the country. But Romero was not always a critic, and the movie follows his journey from the day when he is selected as archbishop because he is considered a "safe" and "moderate" man who will not rock the boat.
The radicalization of Romero is shown in terms of his responses to a series of personal experiences. He counsels trust, but then he sees deception. He would like to consider the government honest, but he is lied to. He sees the evidence of murder and repression, and he cannot ignore it any longer. His conscience eventually requires him to speak out against a government that is denying basic human freedoms to its citizens.
Romero is portrayed in the film by Raul Julia, who plays him as a reasonable, thoughtful man, slow to anger, willing to see both sides. This is a Romero who must have seemed like a safe choice to the rulers of El Salvador and their sponsors. His conversion into a critic of the government is seen almost entirely in theological, not political terms; he takes his stands not because he is a leftist but because he is a Christian.
The movie was produced by an agency of the Paulist Fathers, a Roman Catholic order of teachers and communicators, and it was financed in part by Catholics (although it is not an official church production). Perhaps that is why it sees Romero as essentially a religious, not a political man.
The issue of "liberation theology" is not addressed as such in the movie - perhaps in deference to the establishment of Rome, which in Latin America very much believes in rendering onto Caesar that which is Caesar's (sometimes, this movie hints, in preference to rendering onto God that which is God's). But there is no doubt what the film, and Romero, believe in: free elections, the right to form labour unions, land reform, free speech, freedom from unreasonable search, seizure and murder.”
Roger Ebert September 8, 1989