A civil art: The persuasive moral voice of Oscar Romero

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3 Scopus citations


When moral or religious teachings have public and political effects, analysis usually focuses on the message, but attention to the manner in which the teachings are communicated is equally important in understanding their power to influence the course of events. Oscar Romero's particular style of moral discourse was remarkably effective for three reasons: First, his moral reasoning resonated with Salvadoran identity. It was intelligible within those reigning assumptions about national history and territory that could actually move a public to action. Second, his moral judgments were timely. Romero sought to discern what was possible for the Salvadoran public at a given moment. Third, Romero had integrity as a public figure. He lived in such a way that his life, and especially his death, became an exemplary embodiment of the larger religious narrative that both grounded his ethics and gave meaning to the nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-144
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Religious Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cosmology
  • Discernment
  • El Salvador
  • Historicity
  • Rhetoric
  • Romero

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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