Obama visits tomb of Archbishop Romero

SAN SALVADOR — U.S. President Barack Obama visited the tomb of slain Archbishop Oscar A. Romero when he visited the city’s metropolitan cathedral March 22. The archbishop, whose sainthood cause is being considered by the Vatican, was gunned down while celebrating Mass March 24, 1980, shortly after a radio broadcast in which he urged Salvadoran soldiers to stop turning their weapons on civilians in El Salvador’s civil war.

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes and San Salvador Archbishop Jose Escobar Alas accompanied Obama to the cathedral crypt, where Archbishop Romero is buried.

Here are excerpts from the White House pool report, which refers to the president as POTUS — President Of The United States.

POTUS, having walked down opposite stairs into the crypt, looked at the tomb and a kneeler used by Pope John Paul II when he visited Salvador.

The tomb looks to be a bronze image of the dead Romero lying in repose, with statues of grieving nun-like women at each corner.

POTUS closed his eyes, briefly bowed his head and then turned back, looking subdued.

President Funes then gave him a picture looking like an allegory of (Archbishop) Romero’s life.

POTUS then lit candles as President Funes and the archbishop looked on before lighting candles themselves. Again, no audible comments from POTUS. Pool was ushered out of the cathedral at 6:50 and run past a few soldiers standing guard in full gear, toting assault rifles.