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Martyred Archbishop Óscar Romero Beatified In El Salvador

LADB Article ID: 79673
Category/Department: El Salvador
Date: 2015-06-04
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

A sea of faithful onlookers, scores of journalists, a handful of foreign dignitaries, and leaders from both sides of El Salvador’s deep political divide squeezed into the center of San Salvador in late May to witness the beatification of Archbishop Óscar Romero, a national icon whose global stature as a human rights crusader and champion of the poor continues to grow 35 years after his assassination. The ceremony, led by Cardinal Angelo Amato, a special Vatican envoy, was the penultimate step in Romero’s path to sainthood, a process that has been years in the making and was long stalled by conservative detractors in the Catholic Church. The quest to canonize Romero gained new momentum with the election in 2013 of Pope Francis, an Argentine native and the first Latin American to lead the Vatican. The pope fast-tracked the long-delayed process in early February by declaring Romero a martyr who was killed "in hatred of the faith" rather than for political reasons. The declaration ended a long church debate regarding Romero’s action in the lead-up to El Salvador’s dozen-year civil war (1980-1992).

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