El-Salvador archbishop Romero to be beatified in May

GMT 23:01 2015 Wednesday ,11 March

Arab Today, arab today El-Salvador archbishop Romero to be beatified in May

Salvadorean President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (L)
San Salvador - AFP

Controversial Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero, a champion of the poor who was gunned down while celebrating mass in 1980, will be beatified on May 23, taking him one step from sainthood.
The beatification ceremony, which conservative Catholics and the Salvadoran right had resisted, will be held by Cardinal Angelo Amato on San Salvador's central square, said Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, an Italian archbishop who has led the campaign to canonize Romero.
Romero remains a divisive figure for his outspoken criticism of social injustice and condemnations of the military during El Salvador's civil war.
But Pope Francis, who has himself sought to defend the poor, cleared the way for him to be beatified, naming him a martyr for the Church last month.
Saints "are to unite, never to divide us," Paglia told a press conference in San Salvador.
Salvadoran President Sanchez Ceren, who was also at the press conference, said it was "not only a day of joy but also a historic day for El Salvador."
No one has ever been convicted of Romero's murder.
He was shot dead at the altar the day after delivering a sermon urging soldiers to disobey orders rather than commit human rights violations.
Romero's support for the oppressed has seen him held up by some as a champion of "liberation theology," a political movement rooted in Latin America that advocates working with the poor to bring about social change.
While Romero did not actually subscribe to the theology, his support for the oppressed meant some in the Church were reluctant to beatify him due to concerns his death could be exploited for ideological reasons.
Romero's murder had widespread impact in Latin America, a predominantly Catholic region where several far-right regimes were then fighting wars against Marxist guerrillas.
His life was depicted in the 1989 film "Romero" starring Raul Julia.


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