Archbishop Oscar Romero to be Canonized

By Mei Manuel, March 08, 2018 22:03 PM

Archbishop Oscar Romero(National Catholic Reporter)

After 40 years since he was assassinated while conducting a mass before the people of El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero will be named a saint.

On Wednesday, the Vatican released a statement indicating that Pope Francis has given the final approval to several candidates for canonization, including Archbishop Romero and the late Pope Paul VI.

Romero is well-known as an advocate of El Salvador's poor and taught liberation theology. He also spoke against the US for fueling the civil wars in Latin America, including those in El Salvador. He also spoke out against the army's repression of the people during the 1980 civil war.

Prior to his assassination, Romero delivered one of his most famous speeches in which he said to government soldiers and police that they were not required to obey any order from the government which was "against the law of God."

"In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven each day more tumultuous, I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God - stop the repression," he said.

The next day, he was shot during a mass on the evening of March 24, 1980 in San Salvador's Chapel of Divine Providence.

In his sermon, he said, "Those who surrender to the service of the poor through the love of Christ, will live like the grains of wheat that dies. It only apparently dies. If it were not to die, it would remain a solitary grain. The harvest comes because of the grain that dies."

Shortly after Romero had completed his sermon, a single shot from a .223 high-velocity weapon echoed in the chapel and the 63-year-old priest fell to the floor with a gunshot wound in his chest. The gunman fled the scene using a four-door Volkswagen. His death became one of the most controversial ones in history due to the involvement of the United States with several leftist rebels.

Romero's canonization has actually been delayed twice due to the stance of the previous two popes that Romero mostly got involved in political issues. The canonization only pushed through when Pope Francis took over.

He was beatified in 2015 after it was ruled that he was a martyr killed in hatred of the faith.

No date has yet been given regarding the canonization ceremony, but it is expected to be held this year in the Vatican.

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