A break in the sainthood cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero may have come sooner than supporters anticipated. A Vatican official recently announced that Pope Francis has “unblocked” the cause, according to a report by the National Catholic Reporter.
Romero, who was assassinated in El Salvador in 1980 while performing Mass, could be beatified soon, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said during an Italian Mass last Sunday. Paglia is the president of the Vatican’s Pontification Council for the Family and the postulator for Romero’s sainthood cause.
The cause has been in talks for more than two decades. Romero’s sainthood case has been studied by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints since 1996. The procedure was formally opened by the church in El Salvador in 1990.
Romero’s sainthood has been somewhat controversial. According to the report, Romero is held as a hero in the church “because of his solidarity with the poor and his opposition to human rights abuses”, but the cause “has also been viewed with suspicion in some quarters, partly because of Romero’s links to the controversial liberation theology movement.”
Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have publicly stated that Romero was a martyr for faith. Being judged a martyr would allow Romero beatification despite not having a miracle attributed to him.
According to Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, “Everything points to his beatification being on the cards, although we follow God’s time frame which is not the same as ours.”
(Photo by alison.mckellar via Flickr)