The Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced that Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador.
Archbishop Romero was assassinated on March 24th, 1980, while celebrating Mass at a local chapel. The Salvadoran prelate was an outspoken voice against the Revolutionary Government Junta and their persecution of the Catholic Church and repression of basic human rights.
His cause for canonization began in 1990 and was formally accepted by John Paul II in 1997, when the martyred archbishop was given the title “Servant of God.” Although Romero’s cause passed a theological audit by the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith in 2005, the process was slowed down due to the death of John Paul II. Following Benedict XVI’s election, several liturgical changes to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints further delayed the cause.
During his return flight from South Korea in August 2015, Pope Francis explained to journalists that the Salvadoran archbishop’s cause was initially blocked “for prudence”.
“What I would like is to have clarified when there is martyrdom in ‘odium fidei’ (out of hatred for the faith), whether it is for confessing the credo or for performing the works that Jesus commands us to do for our neighbor,” the Pope said.
“For me, Romero is a man of God. He was a man of God but there has to be the process, and the Lord will have to give his sign (of approval). But if He wishes, He will do so! The postulators must move now because there are no impediments.”
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi informed journalists that Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Postulator of Archbishop Romero’s Cause for Beatification, will hold a press conference tomorrow to speak further on the Pope’s recognition of the Salvadoran prelate’s martyrdom.