2018-03-08 / Nation/World

Slain Salvador archbishop to be a saint, pope decrees

The Associated Press


Pope Francis has cleared the way for Archbishop Oscar Romero to be made a saint, declaring that the churchman murdered by El Salvador’s right-wing death squads for standing up for the poor and oppressed should be a model for today’s church.

Francis signed a decree confirming a miracle attributed to Romero’s intercession on Tuesday, the same day he approved a miracle for another important figure for the 20th century Catholic Church, Pope Paul VI, the Vatican said Wednesday.

No date was set for either canonization. Vatican officials have previously said Paul VI would likely be canonized in October, during a big Vatican meeting of bishops.

The Vatican official who spearheaded Romero’s sainthood cause, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, said he hoped the two would be declared saints together in October, saying a joint canonization would give Catholics a “burst” of energy and example of the need to live one’s life for others.

“I’m in a hurry because there’s an urgent need to change the world,” Paglia told The Associated Press.

Another option would be to canonize Romero closer to home, such as when Francis travels to Panama in January for World Youth Day. The big Catholic youth rally will unite tens of thousands of young Catholics from across Central and South America, where Romero is considered a hero.

Romero was gunned down by right-wing death squads on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel. The country’s military dictatorship had vehemently opposed his preaching against the army’s repression of the poor at the start of the country’s 1980- 1992 civil war.

News of his pending canonization was met with celebration in San Salvador, where President Salvador Sanchez Ceren tweeted that Francis’ decision “fills us with immense joy.”

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