Monday, June 1, 2015
"Just Thoughts"-- A New Saint for the Americas? Beatification of Bishop Oscar Romero
Just Thoughts: A New Saint for the Americas?
On Saturday, May 23rd, a momentous event occurred that was hardly noticed by the mainstream press and media. An emissary of Pope Francis declared in the city of San Salvador the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero. This is the last step before the martyred bishop will be declared a saint. There are many people already calling him “San Romero,” Saint Oscar Romero. Pope Francis clearly chose the eve of Pentecost for this to be done, as if to announce to the world that the Universal Church henceforward would be the Church that Bishop Romero died for, it would be the Church, like Jesus 2000 years ago, with a “preferential option for the poor.”
Bishop Romero was in office only three years when El Salvador’s leader, Roberto D’Aubuisson, gave the command for the assassination. The murder was committed while Romero was saying mass: a sacrilege on top of the mortal sin of murder.
Just eight months after this, on December 2, 1980, some of Cleveland Diocese’s own were martyred in El Salvador: Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, lay missioner Jean Donovan, and Mayknoll Sisters Ita Forde and Maura Clarke. So our church, St. Mary’s of Painesville, and the Cleveland Diocese, with a deep commitment to the poor of Latin America, have close ties to these martyrs and saints of El Salvador.
These murders were committed because Bishop Romero and the Cleveland churchwomen were devoted to the poor and the downtrodden, and in opposition to the unjust oligarchs and plutocrats that ran their society. Like Jesus, they paid the ultimate price. We won’t forget their sacrifice and we will continue their work.
In closing, here is a quote from Oscar Romero: “Many people would like the poor to always say that it is God’s will that they are poor. It is not God’s will for some people to have everything and others to have nothing, This cannot be of God."