Last Thursday, the Domus Sanctae Marthae was invaded by Latin America. At least Pope Francis’ attention was so invaded. Arriving at his office was the entire presidency of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), all of whom knew the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio well and he all of them.
“It was a very lovely meeting with the Pope, of brothers, which filled us with great joy,” Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico and president of CELAM told ZENIT. Archbishop Aguiar Retes recalled the great work that the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires did during the writing of the final document of Aparecida.
ZENIT asked the archbishop if he shared the impression of many: that in 30 days the Pope has summarized the gestures and teachings of the genuine spirit of Aparecida. “Pope Francis is the one — if not the one who most –certainly expresses in his attitudes and words the theological-pastoral development of Aparecida,” Archbishop Aguiar Retes responded.
The archbishop told us that Francis listened carefully to the progress made in CELAM’s “Global Plan.” The Pontiff said to them that the implementation of Aparecida “is the compass” for the renewal of the Church in Latin America. But what needs to be added?
A Possible Tour
Although the Pope did not “confirm or deny” anything, Archbishop Aguiar said, he did tell the bishops that he, along with his team from the Secretariat of State, is studying which countries might have the conditions for future visits.
“What is formal is Rio,” confirmed the Archbishop of Tlalnepantla. He added that the bishops of Latin American will be there to be with the Pope to hear his message.
Romero, A Model Pastor
Although the postulator of the cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador had reported recently on the progress of the cause, which was given a special impulse to it by Pope Francis, CELAM’s president told ZENIT that they knew about the progress from reports of the Salvadoran bishops.
However, this announcement at the highest level “is very promising and fills us with joy.” In the Archbishop’s words, if Romero receives the honor of the altar, he could be presented “as a pastor who in fateful times for his country, continued to preach Christ freely.”
“He was a martyr and a saint,” he added.
Asked by ZENIT about attacks on life and on the family, as well as the restrictions to democracy that affect the Latin American region, Archbishop Aguiar said that all these are “gigantic challenges, because they are global.”
In regard to the lack of democracy in some countries, although it is something that is more regionalized, “it is apparently an avant-garde proposal, but one which presents partial realities which are more difficult to unmask.”