It was a horrific re-enactment of the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket in 1170. On 24 March 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was murdered by an assassin’s bullet as he celebrated the Eucharist. For the previous three years, he had denounced injustices in his country and defended human rights.
Romero had garnered international respect for his efforts, earning a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 1979. However, he had also sparked vehement opposition from the oligarchy whose economic interests he challenged and the military whose violent repression of any resistance meant thousands kidnapped, tortured, and executed.