INTRODUCTION: On the first anniversary of the assassination of El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Salvadorean Catholics flocked to their churches for memorial services.
CU El-Salvador: Priest celebrating Romero commemorative mass (2 shots)
SV Armoured vehicle in street, soldier checking civilians (3 shots)
SV GV Mass in progress (3 shots)
LIBRARY FILM GV Crowds outside cathedral at Romero's funeral, bomb explosions, mourners crouching (3 shots)
SV Monseignor Arturo Rivera y Damas celebrating Mass, congregation (3 shots)
GV People entering cathedral
LIBRARY FILM GV People at murder site of American missionaries, bodies on ground
CU Photograph of murdered priests
GV ZOOM OUT U.S.A. Windows of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City, Reverend Stephen S. Garmey speaking to congregation (5 shots)
GV Demonstrators in Boston, Massachusetts
SV Demonstrators in Atlanta, Georgia
CU & GV Candlelight vigil in Chicago, Illinois (2 shots)
GV/SVs Catholic church service (3 shots)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
SEAMANS: "Masses in memory of Archbishop Romero were celebrated today, throughout El Salvador.
"Government security was heavy around the cathedral in San Salvador, the capital, even though the leftist guerrillas have called for a 24-hour ceasefire.
"Archbishop Romero was a defender of the poor and he opposed violence. But he was strongly critical of what he believed was a repressive government. Since his death the catholic church in El Salvador has been in turmoil. It began on the day of his funeral. A bomb exploded outside the cathedral, and leftists opened fire, thinking they were under attack by right-wing extremists or soldiers.
"Archbishop Romero's successor, Monseignor Arturo Rivera Y Damas has tried to change things condemning both left and right-wing violence. but he has been unable to control some priests and nuns, especially European and American missionaries, who openly look to the left as the best hope for the peasants.
"In December, three American nuns and a lay worker were murdered. Church leaders believe they were killed by government security forces, who opposed their work with the peasants."
"Last year seven priests were also murdered and three others joined the guerrillas. Many priests have fled the country or are in hiding."
JAMIESON: "In the United States, this first anniversary of Archbishop Romero's death is being used by many churches as a rallying point to protest against increased American involvement in El Salvador."
GARMEY: "The forces of repression, threatened by exposure, did with him exactly what they did with Jesus."
JAMIESON: "Prayers for Archbishop Romero and warnings that U.S. policy is wrong delivered from is wrong were delivered from thousands of pulpits, Sunday, at the urging of the National Council of Churches. Its campaign, backed by eleven protestant denominations with 17 million members, coincided with other protests."
"In Boston, several thousand people marched Saturday to the Common."
"In Atlanta, a citizens group paraded at Central City Park to protest against the American role in El Salvador." "In Chicago, candlelight vigils were held in each of the area's 14 congressional districts."
"The Protestants have joined the U.S. Conferences of Catholic Bishops, the first religious body to mount a public campaign of opposition. Both groups have moved more quickly than they did during the Vietnam war."
REPORTERS: IKE SEAMANS AND BOB JAMIESON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: On the first anniversary of the assassination of El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Salvadorean Catholics flocked to their churches for memorial services. Leftist guerrillas paid their respects too, by declaring a 24-hour ceasefire struggle against the ruling junta. The Archbishop was gunned down at his alter while celebrating Mass a year ago on Tuesday (24 March), and his funeral sparked bloody riots in which 30 people were killed. Thousands of churches in the United States used the occasion to protest at American involvement in that country. NBC newsmen Ike Seamans and Bob Jamieson report from El Salvador and the U.S.