News on Archbishop Romero
Breaking news from the Catholic News Service:
A panel of theologians advising the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes voted unanimously to recognize the late Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as a martyr, according to the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference.
The panel declared Jan. 8 that the archbishop had been killed “in hatred for the faith,” Avvenire reported Jan. 9. The decision is a key step in the archbishop’s cause, following an extended debate over whether he was killed for political reasons or for his faith.
The next step in the process lies with the cardinals and bishops who sit on the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, who will vote on whether to advise the pope to issue a decree of beatification. A miracle is not needed for beatification of a martyr, though a miracle is ordinarily needed for his or her canonization as saint.
With regards to the highlighted text: I have always wondered about this problem. If St. Thomas a Beckett was a martyr for the faith, then so too is Oscar Romero. In both cases the murders were politically motivated precisely because these bishops dared to assert that the faith had real world consequences. Romero’s “crime” seems to be that he sided with the Left in defense of the poor, and thereby tainted himself as a communist sympathizer. I also wonder: will the same voices that opposed his beatification during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI—see for example, this book review from New Oxford Review— reiterate these arguments now, or will they let the matter slide?
Like holy men and women of God, Oscar Romero was a complicated person, but I am very glad, and the Church is blessed, to have him recognized as a martyr for Christ and his Church.