Romero the martyr

There’s been some breaking news today on the recognition of Oscar Romero’s martyrdom by the theological committee of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It seems that everyone is citing and linking to this page from the Italian newspaper Avvenire’s website, and as far as I can tell — to my surprise — there’s almost nothing available yet in English.

I’m sure that will change soon, but in the meantime, here’s a quick translation of the entire Avvenire report there. (At the conclusion of that summary, there’s a link to “Read the Entire Article,” but you need a subscription to get to that.)

Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was assassinated “out of hatred for the faith.” This is the news in the preview edition of Avvenire for Thursday, January 9, 2015. The members of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints’ theological committee have expressed their positive unanimous vote on the martyrdom undergone by the Archbishop of San Salvador on March 24, 1980. It is a decisive step needed for [the cause of] the Latin American bishop who was killed while celebrating the Eucharist and who is already considered to be a saint by popular acclaim. All that remains now, according to canonical practice, for Romero’s beatification is the judgment of the congregation’s bishops and cardinals and finally the approval of the Pope. His cause, introduced in March 1994 and concluded in its diocesan phase the following year, landed in Rome in 1997, promoted by its postulator, Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia.

Pope Francis cited Romero during his most recent general audience. The Archbishop of San Salvador, Bergoglio recalled, “said that mothers lived a ‘maternal martyrdom.’ In a homily for the funeral of a priest assassinated by the death squads, he [Romero] said, echoing the Second Vatican Council: ‘Everyone must be ready to die for our faith, even if the Lord doesn’t grant them this honor… To give one’s life does not mean only being killed; doesn’t it also mean to give one’s life, having the spirit of martyrdom, to give oneself in duty, in silence, in prayer, in the honest completion of one’s responsibilities, in that silence of daily life, giving one’s life little by little? Yes, like a mother gives it, who without fear, with the simplicity of the maternal martyr, conceives a child in her womb, gives birth to it, nurses it, helps it to grow, and attends to it with affection. She gives her life. She is a martyr.'”

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