Bishop recounts moving experiences in El Salvador 20 years after first visit

Monday 3rd October 2011


Caption:Bishop Peter with Bishop Gomez

Last week, Bishop Peter Price returned from a moving visit to El Salvador as part of a human rights delegation to witness how the country had moved on 20 years after the 'dirty war'.

Bishop Peter last visited the country in 1988, in the midst of the war when Christian leaders were targeted by government death squads. On that occasion he smuggled in recording equipment and made reports on the appalling suffering of the ordinary people and the Christian church for the World Service. 

On Sunday, he spoke to Trevor Fry on BBC Radio Somerset about his recent experiences and the spirit of the people he met there.  The interview is available to listen online for the next seven days at:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00kfzjj (Timing: 2h12m10s - 2h26m03s) 

On this visit he journeyed to the small chapel where Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 and to the site of the massacre of a group of Jesuit priests who were killed and mutilated as a warning to others. He met Fr John Sobrino, a survivor of that massacre, now a very influential theologian.

Bishop Peter was also reunited with the Lutheran Bishop, Medardo Gomez whom he met back in 1988. Bishop Peter brought Gomez's arrest and pending execution in 1989 to international attention through a letter in the Independent newspaper.  The letter alerted the El Salvador government to the fact that their actions would not go unnoticed by the West and Bishop Gomez was freed.

"The human rights situation in El Salvador has improved dramatically since the dark days of the 1980s, but there is huge poverty," says Bishop Peter. 

"Christian churches are at the forefront of working with the poor - they need our prayers and our practical support.  I want to help raise awareness of what is happening in El Salvador and encourage our government to look at possibilities for aid and diplomatic initiatives," he adds.

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