Will Archbishop Romero Soon Become a Saint? Pope Francis “Unblocks” Romero’s Beatification

Today the National Catholic Reporter published a story saying that “a Vatican official responsible for the sainthood cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador announced Sunday that the cause has been ‘unblocked’ by Pope Francis,” which suggests “that beatification of the assassinated prelate could come swiftly.”

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According to the article, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said in a homily on Sunday in Italy that “the cause of the beatification of Monsignor Romero has been unblocked.” The story also said that Paglia had seen Pope Francis over the weekend, and that such news would not have been publicly shared if the Pope had not authorized it.

The article continues:

Romero was shot to death while saying Mass in El Salvador on March 24, 1980. While he is seen as a hero to many because of his solidarity with the poor and his opposition to human rights abuses, his cause has also been viewed with suspicion in some quarters, partly because of Romero’s links to the controversial liberation theology movement.

Although both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said publicly that Romero was a martyr for the faith, there’s also been some question as to whether his death meets the classic test for martyrdom of being killed in odium fidei, meaning “in hatred of the faith,” or whether the motives were more social and political.

If Romero is judged a martyr, he could be beatified without having a miracle attributed to his intercession.

The report include a March 26 quote from Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, who said the following: “…I know [Pope Francis] is absolutely convinced that Romero is a saint and a martyr. Everything points to his beatification being on the cards, although we follow God’s time frame which is not the same as ours.”

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