Óscar Romero’s Theological Vision: Liberation and the Transfiguration of the Poor
Hardcover – October 30, 2018
On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated as he celebrated mass in El Salvador. As the Catholic Church prepares to declare Romero a saint, Colón-Emeric explores the life and thought of Romero and his theological vision, which finds its focus in the mystery of the transfiguration.
Romero is now understood to be one of the founders of liberation theology, which interprets Scripture through the plight of the poor. His theological vision is most succinctly expressed by his saying, “Gloria Dei, vivens pauper”: “The glory of God is the poor who lives.” God’s glory was first revealed through Christ to a landless tenant farmer, a market woman, and an unemployed laborer, and they received the power to shine from the church to the world.
Colón-Emeric’s study is an exercise in what Latino/a theologians call ressourcement from the margins, or a return to theological foundations. One of the first Latin American Church Fathers, Romero’s theological vision is a sign of the emergence of Christianity in the Global South from “reflection” Church to “source” Church. The hope for this study is that scholars in the fields of theology, religious studies, and Latin American studies will be captivated by the doctrine of this humble pastor and inspired to think more clearly and act more decisively in solidarity with the poor.
"Colón-Emeric is at the leading edge of both the best scholarship and the best pedagogy for grasping the entirety of Romero's witness. Colón-Emeric situates this liturgically-driven vision of theology within the specificity of the celebration and the martyrdom in San Salvador. This particularizing and localizing of the theme makes this book even more universal and engaging. Everyone in the English-speaking world who is writing and thinking about the witness of Romero will need to read this book, and will benefit greatly from that reading." (Peter Casarella, University of Notre Dame)
"Edgardo Colón-Emeric’s excellent book deserves its place within the new generation of Monsignor Oscar Romero studies. Instead of offering another biographical account of Romero’s life, this monograph skillfully examines the contribution and legacy of Romero’s theological vision. Colón-Emeric approaches both the traditional wellspring of Romero’s theology and the oppressed reality that shaped his prophetic voice. One of the great strengths of the book is Colón-Emeric’s careful consideration of Romero’s homilies as a main source of new theological riches and insights. This well-written and carefully researched book is a must-read for all who are interested in Latin American theology and the vision of its saints." (Ernesto Valiente, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry)
"Though the life and tragic murder of St. Óscar Romero have garnered much attention, his theology needs further exploration. Edgardo Colón-Emeric’s fine study brings out the richness of Romero’s thinking on themes such as Christ, salvation, the church, and Christian hope. Richly connecting this contemporary martyr and saint to the ancient richness of Christian theology, Colón’s book demonstrates how Romero's courageous defense of human rights sprang from a powerful theology of transfiguration." (Michael Lee, Fordham University)
About the Author
Edgardo Colón-Emeric is assistant professor of Christian theology at Duke Divinity School.