Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Slain Salvadoran archbishop to become saint

Slain Salvadoran archbishop to become saint

Francis ruled Romero could be declared a saint after a Vatican theological and medical commission approved a miracle attributed to him.

Romero had spoken out against repression by the army at the beginning of El Salvador's 1980-1992 civil war between the right-wing government, and leftist rebels.

The Pope put Paul VI on the path to sainthood by beatifying him in October 2014, while Oscar Romero was likewise elevated to the status of "blessed" in May 2015.

Romero biographer Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, who collaborated with archbishop Paglia on the saint-making case, said Mr Romero's witness in opposing violence would resonate particularly in Latin America, "where violence by youth gangs has brought enormous suffering and created a true nightmare for the population".

Romero is expected to be canonized along with Pope Paul VI in October at the Synod of Bishops.

The case had been held up for years by the Vatican, primarily due to opposition from conservative Latin American churchmen who feared Romero's perceived association with liberation theology would embolden the movement that holds that Jesus' teachings require followers to fight for social and economic justice.

Romero, who spoke out against the military's harsh tactics in his homilies and radio broadcasts, angered the military by writing to President Jimmy Carter to ask that the USA stop military aid to El Salvador.

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Conservatives within the church long blocked efforts to name Romero a saint, arguing he was slain for his politics, not his religion.

"Romero loved to say that the Second Vatican Council asked all Christians to be martyrs today, that is, to live giving your life for others, not for yourself", Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator for Romero's cause, said, according to Washington Post.

Romero was beatified in San Salvador on May 24, 2015, before a quarter-million jubilant Salvadorans, and held up as model of peace and forgiveness for Francis' home continent. Her friends started praying to Romero "and after five days, in an inexplicable way, this woman begins to improve and was completely healed".

Father Tom Reese, an analyst at the National Catholic Reporter, said Wednesday's announcement "shows first and foremost that Pope Francis really liked and admired Oscar Romero".

Nearly 40 years after he was assassinated - shot as performed mass and was speaking about sacrifice - Archbishop Oscar Romero is to be named a saint, the Vatican has announced.

"The canonization of Oscar Romero is an vast step forward for the church, and a great wrong finally righted", he tweeted.

For churchgoer Josefa Trejos, the news only confirms what she has long believed.

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