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Benedict XVI supported move to 'unblock' beatification cause of Archbishop Romero

June 11, 2013

Although the cause for beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero was reportedly “unblocked” by Pope Francis earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI had also favored the beatification of the slain Salvadoran prelate, and had moved to speed up the process of his beatification, reports Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa.

In April, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator for the cause of Archbishop Romero, reported that Pope Francis had unlocked the process. But Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, an auxiliary of the San Salvador archdiocese, said that Pope Benedict had earlier moved to unblock the cause.

In 2007, during a conversation with reporters who accompanied his flight to Brazil, Pope Benedict said that Archbishop Romero was a “great witness of the faith.” However Pope Benedict added that the cause for his beatification had become complicated because “a political party wrongly wished to use him as their badge.” According to Tornielli, Pope Benedict added his own opinion that Archbishop Romero “merits beatification, I do not doubt,” but that comment was not included in an official Vatican summary of the Pope’s remarks.

Archbishop Romero, an outspoken champion of the poor and of human rights, was shot and killed as he celebrated Mass in 1980. The assassination was traced to a leader of a right-wing party. A controversial figure during his lifetime, the Salvadoran archbishop remained controversial after his death, and some Church leaders had cautioned against his beatification, arguing that he was excessively involved with leftist political causes.


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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jun. 12, 2013 12:38 AM ET USA

    Why the rush to canonize Archbishop Romero? Let's give it some time, like the time it took to canonize St. Thomas More.