Monday, November 10, 2014
2015: Beatification of Monseñor Romero
Noticias de la UCA
November 6, 2014
We have received unexpected news. At the November 4th clergy meeting, Monsignor Jose Luis Escobar said that during his stay in Rome, Pope Francis told him that Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified next year. The archbishop gave no details about the date and place. But the news has already filled us with joy.
The last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, talked about it, but not with much conviction and determination. And the fear of annoying the powerful was obvious: "It is not yet the right time." The Vatican's words were ambiguous and not very encouraging.
Everything has changed with Pope Francis. A year ago, he said Monseñor's cause was stagnating but that it certainly would advance. Rather than stagnating, I think it was blocked by many interests that have nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth.
We've said it many times: the joy and exultation of the people is assured. But I've tended to have a little fear and hesitation: what Monseñor Romero's act of canonization will say. Holy and virtuous he was in the highest degree. But he was something more, as Ignacio Ellacuría phrased it at the funeral mass at UCA immediately after the assassination of the Archbishop: "With Monseñor Romero, God passed through El Salvador." Around the same time, Dom Pedro Casaldáliga wrote the poem "San Romero de América, pastor y mártir nuestro". And the people spontaneously called him "saint." The cult of the people -- the popular one -- has been massive, although it's not allowed during the process of beatification.
Then let us await the coming year. In 2015, there will be no World Cup or Olympic Games. People won't be fighting against each other to win. We'll all win something or a lot, except for a few diehards. Trillions won't be spent to conceal poverty, violence and anguish. Yes, there will be pupusas and tamales.
In 2015, the little girl in a hut in Zimbabwe will win, who, when I asked her in 2007 what she knew of El Salvador, told me instantly: "A bishop". And days later, also in Zimbabwe, I greeted Desmond Tutu. I told him I was from El Salvador and he said: "The land of Romero! We used to remember him so much during wartime!" And so on, many other stories that wouldn't fit in all the books in the world.
My fear that they might beatify a watered-down Monseñor Romero has disappeared. It's hard to manipulate him today. And a prayer: "San Romero de América, pray for all the poor in the world. And pray for this Salvadoran people that is yours."
Point of clarification: After this article was published, the editors added a note that "The author of the article, Fr. Jon Sobrino, has clarified that the source of the good news about the beatification process of Monseñor Romero wasn't Pope Francis but Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, former president of the Catholic Bible Federation, and one of the founders of the Community of Sant'Egidio.