March 23, 2014

Turbulent Priest

Óscar Romero joined an august group of martyrs killed largely because of tangling with powerful political leaders. Thomas Becket's story is likely familiar to many, the "turbulent priest" whom powers and principalities found inconvenient. Less familiar is Stanisław of Kraków (from whom I take my name in religion) — he came to his death because he opposed and chastised King Bolesław II. Of course, all three stand in the noble heritage of John the Baptist himself, the protomartyr to speaking truth to power, or the powerful.

Romero lived and died in a tumultuous time in El Salvador, a time when government was tyrannical, using torture and murder as matters of policy. Romero dared bear witness against such wrongdoing, including appealing to our own government to stop its support to the Salvadoran military. American hands are not clean in the death of this saint of the Americas.

Nor was Romero the only religious leader to suffer in that era. It was in part the assassination of his friend Rutilio Grande that contributed to Romero's own conscientization and encouraged him to speak out. And after his own murder, the assassination of other religious leaders continued, among the Jesuits and Maryknoll missionaries in particular.

May all who give voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless, even as they die in protest at the wrongs of the powerful and heedless, sear the conscience of the world and convict the wrong as they beat down Satan under their feet.

icon by Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Gillian said...

Tomorrow is also the day which Episcopal Divinity School has on their calendar to observe Jonathan Myrick Daniels (I presume b/c his birthday is 3/20 and his feast day is before term begins in August). You have written icons of both men. Do you have prints of your icons available for sale or have policies on their reproduction? I am head of a new Episcopal Service Corps community founded in honor of Jonathan Daniels and would like to have some icons of him to use in the community house.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Hi, Gillian, and thanks for your kind words. I've uploaded most of my icons (including JMDaniels and ORomero) to in a public folder. If you create a winkflash account you can then pick an image and they will produce everything from a poster to a mousepad at a very reasonable cost. I've done up plaques of a couple of my "saints" and they come out very nicely.

Peace and all the best.