Rutilio Grande had spent about twenty years of his life in the formation of the Salvadoran diocesan clergy. He encouraged a form of accompaniment that invited seminarians to embrace inner freedom. He trained them to serve the people and not any clerical caste. He promoted the spirit of Vatican II. However, when in 1970 he lost the confidence of the bishops, he began pastoral work in his native region.
Fr Cardenal highlighted a number of traits that link Bishop Romero and the Jesuit Rutilio Grande. These include:
- Rutilio and Archbishop Romeo announced the Kingdom of God and manifested its clear presence in a reality dominated by economic exploitation, social oppression, and repression of the State.
- Both called those perpetrating injustice and violence to conversion, and neither of them nurtured violence, effectively fighting against its various forms.
- Their styles were different, but their words were to the point and timely. The poor received them with joy, because they brought them hope. But the powerful accused the two priests of being “communists,” and finally silenced them by murdering them.
- Bishop Romero and Fr Rutilio strove to build a Church that is truly the people of God, as the Council urged them to. For them, the Church had to be built from the bottom up, seeking to unite people, calling them to conversion, to turn again to God.