Pope Francis has signed a decree declaring Archbishop Oscar Romero died a martyr, raising expectations that a beatification could be announced within months, reports The Tablet.
The Vatican said yesterday it will be holding a press briefing in Rome today, February 4, with Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the Vatican official leading the cause for the Salvadoran prelate’s sainthood.
Last month theologians at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted unanimously that Romero was killed in “hatred of the faith.”
Archbishop Romero was shot dead on March 24, 1980 by right-wing death squads colluding with the then-Government. Archbishop Romero had been a vocal critic of the ruling elite in El Salvador for their record on human rights and their harsh treatment of the poor.
Opinion within El Salvador was for a long time bitterly divided over Archbishop Romero's legacy but the current President, leftist Mauricio Funes, has prayed at his tomb and in 2013 presented Pope Francis with a reliquary containing a blood-stained piece of the vestments Romero was wearing when he was shot dead.
Archbishop Romero’s cause was first opened in 1994 and was moved to Rome three years later, but was then held up while the orthodoxy of his preaching was examined and over debates about whether he had been killed for political or religious reasons.
Archbishop Oscar Romero declared a martyr by Pope Francis (The Catholic Herald)