Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Talking about Oscar Romero

Another article has appeared speculating about internal Vatican theological politics and its impact on whether slaim archbishop Oscar Romero will be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic church:

When Pope Benedict XVI visited Brazil earlier this year, he told local journalists that "Romero as a person merits beatification", a remark Vatican officials deleted from official transcripts. Romero's supporters suspect that a favourable report from the church body responsible for reviewing his doctrinal credentials may also have been suppressed.

They argue that far more controversial figures have been made saints in the recent past, among them Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, head of the secretive Opus Dei organisation which many liberal Catholics regard as a cult, and the Italian mystic Padre Pio, who claimed he could cure the blind and was able to appear in different places at the same time.

As a journalist who reported frequently from the region, I interviewed Romero on several occasions: a warm and humble man from a poor background, he never hesitated to condemn abuses committed by the Marxist rebels then locked in a brutal civil war with the US-backed Salvadoran regime.

Driven by his passionate commitment to social justice, he regarded himself as a spokesman for the poor and oppressed who had no voice of their own.

While some engage in the speculation, our friend Polycarpio continues his blog, Super Martyrio, "the inside track on the beatification cause of Archbishop Romero of El Salvador." His most recent post looks at the Hebrew prophets' influence on Romero's preaching and theology.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

San Romero is a saint of the all the poor in the world. He stood for social justice and dignity of the common person. He put the well being, health and safety of every person before the need to obtain hugh sums of money. It was more important to him that everyone have decent housing before building hugh churches.He was a man of the people, as was Jesus. For these reasons he will never be a saint in the eyes of the Roman Catholic church.

inner-self said...

personally i think it is irrelevant wether Romero is considered a saint or not. let's give him credit and our respects as by far the best martyr the country has had, i mean, the man truly showed how to act with dignity and he's a national hero, a role model and one of the many symbols of el salvador's struggle for democracy and development, and christian values. that being said, it should not even be a question of wether this man is a saint or not, it's mere politics without much substance matter to the argument.

POLYCARPIO said...

Romero's canonization continues to be important. Above all, sainthood is "for the greater glory of God." Romero's sainhood would pose an officially sanctioned model of Christian virtue for believers and non-believers alike to gauge what this set of commitments that Romero lived (and died) for -- Christian values -- are all about. Secondly, sainthood would be a nice tribute for Romero himself. If you respect Romero's beliefs, those beliefs that he dedicated his life to and sacrificed his life for, he would put the Church above all ("Sentir con la Iglesia") and therefore the Church's canonization would be the ultimate vindication of his life. Canonization would be good for the Church, because it would reaffirm its evangelical commitments to the social doctrine of the Church, to the poor, etc. It would be good for El Salvador, because the Salvadoran people would get a saint, and all the bragging rights and other privileges that entails. It would be good for the cause of social justice, because nothing would depoliticize Romero's legacy more than the official imprimatur of the Church: saying, if the worldwide institution that includes Pope Ratzinger and Opus Dei has accepted "Saint Romero," then his demanding calls to repentance and conversion can no longer be dismissed as leftist demagoguery. It would be bad for ARENA and the disciples of D'Aubuisson, but it would probably also be bad for the FMLN, not necessarily the boon that everyone assumes it will be. Once Romero is understood as a prophet and a radical follower of Jesus, a man of Transcendence, his utility for those who care strictly about the political world, will be lessened.

Anonymous said...

The Vatican knows better. How can the church justify the sainthood of an assassin whose homilies exacerbated terrorist emotions and lead many innocent souls to death? It's absurd to be referring to Romero as a saint when he's responsible for many deaths...
He preached marxist theories which defy the existence of a Supreme Being...

POLYCARPIO said...

Of course the Vatican knows best. Pope Benedict himself has said it: "Romero was certainly a great witness to the faith. He was a man of great Christian virtue, who was committed to peace and against the dictatorship. He was killed during the moment of consecration, therefore it was a truly incredible death, a testimony to the faith. That Romero as a person merits beatification, I have no doubt."

The previous anonymous posts joins a tradition of ananonymous smears that paved the way to Oscar Romero's martyrdom.

Anonymous said...

Funny that someone would state that Romero preached marxism, when in fact many of the communist in the FMLN were against him for speaking out against violence. Romero spoke of the law of God, being above the orders of men. How then can it be said that he did not believe in a Sepreme Being? Pope Paul VI was very supportive of Romero's struggle to bring peace and justice to El Salvador.

Anonymous said...

It is really not necessary to try to denigrate St. Josemaria or St. Pio. There is certainly enough room in the Church for all three men to be saints. Furthermore, it is probably the right thing for them all to be saints.