Tag Archives: Oscar Romero

Pope Francis does the right thing

 

The following article is reprinted in its entirety from Huff Post Religion.

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) – Pope Francis opened the way Monday to a quick beatification for Oscar Romero, saying there are no more doctrinal problems blocking the process for the slain Salvadoran archbishop who is one of the heroes of the liberation theology movement in Latin America.

Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down in 1980 while celebrating Mass. He had spoken out against repression by the Salvadoran army at the beginning of the country’s 1980-1992 civil war between the right-wing government and leftist rebels.

Francis told journalists traveling home from South Korea that Romero’s case had previously been “blocked out of prudence” by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith but has now been “unblocked.” He said the case had passed to the Vatican’s saint-making office.

  The congregation launched a crackdown on liberation theology under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, fearing what was deemed as Marxist s excesses. The movement holds the view that Jesus’ teachings imbue followers with a duty to fight for social and economic justice.

Francis said of Romero’s case that “it is important to do it quickly,” but that the investigation must take its course.

He declared that Romero “was a man of God” and suggested that he wanted to expand the church’s concept of martyrdom to include a broader field of candidates.

Unlike regular candidates for beatification, martyrs can reach the first step to possible sainthood without a miracle attributed to their intercession. A miracle is needed for canonization, however.

Traditionally, the church has restricted the martyr designation to people who were killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith. Francis said he wanted theologians to study whether those who were killed because of their actions doing God’s work could also be considered martyrs.

“What I would like is that they clarify when there’s a martyrdom for hatred of the faith – for confessing the faith – as well as for doing the work for the other that Jesus commands,” Francis said.

Questions over that distinction have been at the root of the theological debate over whether Romero was killed by El Salvador’s right-wing death squads for professing the faith or because of his political activism in support of the poor.

Readers of this blog know my feelings about spirituality and standing alongside the poor. You also know how often I quote the words of the martyred Oscar Romero.

The archbishop of El Salvador was living out his witness during the early years of my ministry, and his deep faithfulness was a strong inspiration to me that we can make a real difference in the world. His words still continue to make me want to live more faithfully on behalf of the poor and hungry. And for me, well, that’s enough for sainthood.

Oscar Romero lived and died faithfully, and he demonstrated that faithfulness by his unwavering support and solidarity with the poor and oppressed. Thank you, Pope Francis for recognizing a man of true faith.

life in all its fullness

Many would like the poor to keep on saying that it is God’s will for them to live that way.

But it is not God’s will for some to have everything and others to have nothing. That cannot be of God. God’s will is that all his children be happy.— Oscar Romero

Jesus said that he came so that we all might know life in all its fullness. That is found in the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel.

Life in all its fullness cannot be achieved when one lives in constant fear of hunger. Living in the shadow of starvation, watching your children live stunted and wasted lives, cannot be what Jesus intended when he talked about life in all its fullness. Poverty and hunger cannot be of God.

These words of Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of El Salvador, remind us that God’s will is for all his children to be happy.  Faithfulness to the gospel calls for Christians to work toward achieving a world where all our family has access to life in all its fullness. That means not tolerating the huge gap between the obscenely rich and those existing without hope. That means actively working to bring the poor into a place of fullness and hope.

Jesus validated his ministry by his preaching to the poor and outcast and his service to those most in need.  Those of us who claim to be his disciples dare not do less.