Supporters of the Cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero have welcomed the news that the the process to beatify and eventually canonize him, has been 'unblocked'.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the official promoter of the Cause of the Archbishop Romero of San Salvador, made the announcement in a homily on 20 April, just a few hours after a meeting with Pope Francis.
The archbishop, who was preaching at a Mass in the town of Molfetta, to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the diocese’s Bishop Antonio Bello, said: “Today, the anniversary of the death of Don Tonino, the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Romero was unblocked.”
His office later said that no more would be said until there was something “concrete” to report.
In his homily, Archbishop Paglia said he hoped Archbishop Romero and Bishop Bello, known for his care of the poor and his commitment to peace, could be beatified together “because Jesus always sent the apostles out two by two.”
Archbishop Romero was assassinated on 24 March, 1980, as he celebrated Mass.
Julian Filochowski, former director of CAFOD, who met Archbishop Romero many times, said: “It is wonderful to learn that the Cause for Archbishop Romero’s beatification has been ‘unblocked’ by Pope Francis. This is a carefully chosen word and it means that the Cause will leave the siding where it has been parked for more than a decade, whilst accusations that Archbishop Romero’s homilies went beyond the bounds of orthodoxy were examined by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It will now be put back on the regular road to sainthood under the auspices of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints - and in all probability it will be fast-tracked since the beatification of a martyr does not require a miracle.
“Archbishop Romero is already a hugely popular icon of holiness across the Catholic Church worldwide and within the Anglican Communion; but he is perhaps especially important to Pope Francis who in his words and symbolic actions has seemed so clearly to emulate Romero’s lifestyle simplicity and his closeness to the poor.
“Maybe 2014 will be Romero’s year - as Archbishop Paglia seems to anticipate; we can certainly now hope, and indeed expect, to celebrate the centenary of Archbishop Romero’s birth in 2017 with his sanctity formally recognised by the Church. Santo subito!”
For more information on the Oscar Romero Trust, see: www.romerotrust.org.uk/