Many people continue to wonder whether slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero will be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic church. A new AP article looks at how politics may be slowing down the process of beatification:
[T]he archbishop's activism was not universally admired. Romero was pressing for social justice at a time when Vatican officials were battling Marxist-inspired liberation theology in Latin America. The archbishop's work was of great concern in Rome.
Romero also had a difficult relationship with his fellow Salvadoran priests, and at one point the Vatican received a request to send an apostolic visitor to El Salvador to either replace Romero or appoint a superior to control him, according to Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, who wrote a 2005 biography of Romero called "Primero Dios." The archbishop's detractors within the clergy -- in El Salvador and Rome -- may still oppose his beatification.
It didn't help that Romero became a political hero in the region; his image routinely appears on fliers next to Che Guevara and Salvador Allende -- icons of the Latin American left. Vatican officials worry that elevating Romero could unintentionally advance a political agenda.
"There was the problem that a political side wanted -- wrongly -- to take him as their flag, as an emblematic figure," [Pope] Benedict said. "How should we rightly bring to light his persona, shielding him from these attempts to use him? This is the problem."
Recent remarks from Pope Benedict have added to the speculation by watchers of the beatification process:
The sensitivity of the issue was clear in remarks last May by Pope Benedict XVI, as he was flying to Brazil -- his first visit to Latin America as pontiff.
Benedict told reporters that "Romero as a person merits beatification," but Vatican officials removed that quote in an official transcript, keeping only the pope's general praise of the slain prelate as a "great witness to the faith."
El Salvador's government recently announced that it supported Romero's beatification, despite the fact that the founder of the ruling ARENA party, Roberto d'Aubuisson, ordered Romero's 1980 assassination.