Less than a month after the beatification of Archbishop Óscar Romero before jubilant crowds in San Salvador, a new volume edited by Faculty Fellow Rev. Robert Pelton, CSC, offers a fresh look at the remarkable pastoral leader long known as “San Romero de America,” who promised just weeks before he was assassinated in 1980 that he would rise again in the Salvadoran people.

Archbishop Romero and Spiritual Leadership in the Modern World (Lexington Books, 2015) is a collection of essays originating in papers delivered at the International Conference on Archbishop Romero organized by Fr. Pelton and held at the Kellogg Institute in 2014.

The book commemorates Romero’s life and work by examining the spiritual and psychological qualities that contributed to his growing leadership in a violent and chaotic period in El Salvador. The volume also examines his place in the “historical and ecclesial realities of his times,” says Pelton.

Authors consider the archbishop’s continuing role in Latin American history and “the human dynamics at work alongside his obvious devotion to the Church.”

“Each theological reflection in this volume widens the scope of Romero’s significance in life and death without losing sight of the singularity of what he offered,” says Faculty Fellow Peter Casarella. “This collection is without parallel in Romero studies and essential reading for the countless followers of Blessed Óscar.”

Maryknoll missionary Stephen Judd speaks to the particular importance of the book in Pope Francis’s Church.  “These texts help us to recover the historical memory of Romero’s martyrdom and the martyrdom of thousands of other Latin Americans who in recent years provide us with a new lens into an understanding of the meaning and consequences of a ‘martyrdom of solidarity’ with the poor,” he says.

In addition to Pelton, contributors include Faculty Fellow Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP, Claudia Bernardi, Rev. Michael E. Connors, CSC, Roberto Cuéllar, Robert Ellsberg, Sr. Pat Farrell, OSF, Julian Filochowski, Thomas M. Kelly, Michael E. Lee, Mauro Pando, David Perrin, Margaret R. Pfeil, Rev. Carlos Sánchez, Msgr. Ricardo Urioste, and Damian Zynda.

A formal launch of the book will take place on September 17 at the Kellogg Institute. Presentations by Fr. Pelton, Fr. Gutiérrez, Connors, Kelly, and Pfeil are planned.


Pelton is founder and director emeritus of Latin American/North American Church Concerns (LANACC), housed at the Kellogg Institute, and a long-time Romero scholar. Prior publications include Monsignor Romero: A Bishop for the New Millennium (2004) and Archbishop Romero (2006). His film, Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero, received the Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film in 2012.