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Romero's rhetoric: blurred audience identity as unifying tactic in war-torn El Salvador




Gabriel, Darcy, author
Doe, Sue, advisor
Garcia, Antero, committee member
Mumme, Stephen, committee member

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In this thesis I examine a homily given by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in 1979, "The Church's Mission in a Crisis." In particular, I use critical discourse analysis in three main areas. First, I analyze the intertextuality and genre conventions associated with Archbishop Romero's homily. Second, I examine the ways that Archbishop Romero brought various audience groups into his homily in order to broaden the scope of audiences who could be receptive to his call for social justice. Finally, I examined how the homily interacted with and interrupted power relations. I found that Archbishop Romero followed the tradition of Catholic doctrine from Vatican II and Puebla in making direct connections between scripture and daily life in his homilies. In this way Archbishop Romero was able to incorporate into his homilies the call to action for social justice. "The Church's Mission in a Crisis" upheld the distance between the Church and the poor, but it also pushed back through the inclusion in the homily of results from a diocese survey. Through my examination of the influence of the homily, I used the framework of social movement rhetoric in order to examine the influence that Archbishop Romero had rather than attempt to trace the ideological impact of one homily. In this way, using critical discourse analysis to examine texts within social movements allows for in-depth case studies of texts in a way that encourages situating the case study within the larger social movement.


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