Sunday, October 05, 2014

Pope Francis and El Salvador's bishops

There is an interesting article from Tim Johnson of McClatchey this weekend titled Latin America feeling ‘Francis effect’  about Pope Francis and how his vision of where the Roman Catholic church needs to go may be received by the church hierarchy in El Salvador:
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.

1 comment:

Carlos X said...

If the suggestion is that "the beatification of Monsignor Romero will be like a bucket of cold water" for the BISHOPS, I would say that claim is outdated. There certainly was a time when some of the bishops saw Romero "as a sympathizer of the political left." Certainly during Romero's life, all the bishops except his auxiliary (and later successor) Rivera y Damas opposed him. In subsequent years, divisions remained and it wasn't until fairly recently that there was unanimous, unqualified support for Romero's beatication among El Salvador's bishops. But unanimity is here and we have to look at some recent evidence to understand whether it is shallow or heartfelt. A couple of years ago, the bishops got together and drafted a letter that THEY ALL SIGNED and sent to the Vatican expressing their unanimous support for Romero's beatification. This was intended as a conspicuous declaration that, "look, we got it together and we are in agreement now." But, later a canon law (internal Church law) expert advised them that because of a technicality, the letter would likely have no legal effect on Romero's canonization (they had sent it to the wrong Vatican department). In response to this information, not only did the bishops redo the letter, but they designated a delegation among them to personally hand-deliver the letter and deliver it turn it in to the Pope himself. The story about Church intrigue and division is always sexy, and there certainly have been real tensions, but sometimes these conflicts are exaggerated (as the supposed confrontation between Romero and John Paul, which proves to be over-hyped upon closer examination, will illustrate).