VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI yesterday recalled the 1980 slaying of El Salvador archbishop and human rights activist Oscar Romero, and praised those who lost their lives carrying out the mission for the Roman Catholic Church.
Benedict reminded pilgrims in St Peter's Square that Saturday had been the anniversary of Romero's killing, and that the church had dedicated the day to prayer and fasting for missionary martyrs.
He described the martyrs as "bishops, priests, other men and women clergy and lay people cut down in carrying out their mission of evangelisation and human promotion".
Benedict said martyrs represented hope for the world "because they testify that the love of Christ is stronger than violence and hate".
On Saturday hundreds of Salvadorans marked the 27th anniversary of Romero's slaying.
The day before Romero was gunned down in a chapel, he had called on the military to halt its repressive tactics. During El Salvador's 12-year civil war, the military was blamed for death squads that killed thousands of suspected guerrillas and leftist opponents of the military-led government. - Sapa-AP