By Jack Cahill ’17
Pope Francis unblocked the path Aug. 18 to the beatification of Bishop Oscar Romero, a Jesuit El Salvadoran martyr who was killed by the El Salvadoran government.
Romero was an El Salvadoran bishop who voiced heavy opposition to the El Salvadoran military regime as well as strong support and solidarity for the poor. Because of this, he was killed on March 24, 1980.
The beatification, the process by which someone becomes a saint, was delayed and never carried out due to concerns about Romero’s political beliefs, as he was a outspoken critic of the military regime that existed in El Salvador at the time.
Romero deserves to be become a saint because he was an outspoken advocate for Catholic social justice.
Now that Pope Francis wishes to beatify Romero “as soon as possible,” there is discussion in the Church over whether or not lifting the ban was the right decision. Catholics across the world, including teachers and priests at Brophy, have offered their opinions on the matter.
“Oscar Romero to me is a incredible figure who really paved the way for Catholics in terms of what it means to be in solidarity with humanity, and what it means to understand the perspective of the poor,” said Mr. Christopher Agliano. “A lot of times we talk about poverty and we talk about what it means for people to be poor and doing service, but Oscar Romero was really one of the first modern examples and relatable examples.”
Romero was a man who truly cared for the poor, and who held a Jesuit worldview. For that reason, many Catholics, including myself, were confused by the significant hesitation towards the possibly of making Romero a saint.
This move is bigger than one decision though, and could lead to changes and overall reforms in the beatification process.
“This move is significant because it leads the way to the possibility that Romero might be beatified,” said Mr. Tim Broyles. “Not that he definitely will be beatified, but it will lead to the continuation of the study of his life and the question of whether or not he should be considered Saint Oscar Romero.”
I, and many others, share the same hope as Mr. Broyles. I hope that this decision encourages people to learn more about Romero. Sometimes, Romero is unknown amongst Catholics, which is unfortunate as he was a truly exemplified what it meant to be a Jesuit who served others.
Pope Francis is further reforming the Church by beatifying a controversial, but model Jesuit.
I’m sure that some controversy will arise out of beatifying Romero but I’m confident that a beatification would make the majority of Catholics happy. Given what Romero has done, and given his message, I’m optimistic that he will soon be Saint Oscar Romero.