In ways large and small, Pope Francis is having an impact on Roman Catholics in Latin America. He’s pushing ahead with sainthood for a controversial martyred prelate in El Salvador. He’s mending fences with proponents of a theology that the Vatican once shunned for its Marxist whiff. And he’s cautiously embraced new, livelier styles of worship that his predecessors had discouraged.
The changes have won Pope Francis grassroots support, even as they have rattled the church’s bishops, most of whom were installed during the tenures of his more conservative predecessors.
Nowhere is that conflict more evident than in this small Central American country, where a generation ago the church was at the center of what would become a civil war that would claim tens of thousands of lives.
It was aboard an Alitalia charter in mid-August that the pontiff announced that he was pressing the Vatican bureaucracy to hurry with the beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, an advocate for the poor and a critic of the Salvadoran military who was slain by a right-wing assassin in 1980.
“It’s very important to move in haste,” Francis told reporters aboard the airliner. “For me, Romero is a man of God.”
El Salvador’s bishops reacted with public delight, but longtime observers said there was anything but glee behind closed doors among those who still view Monsignor Romero as a sympathizer of the political left.
“The beatification of Monsignor Romero will be like a bucket of cold water for them. They neither agreed with him in his life nor after his death,” said Carlos Ayala Ramirez, the director of the radio station at the Jesuit Central American University in San Salvador.Read the rest of the article here.