I’m not sure if we’re expected to do a post today, since tomorrow is our exam date rather than a normal class. Yet during my time spent studying, I felt inclined to see if any progress had been made towards the Beatification or Canonization of Archbishop Romero. As it turns out, within the past week Pope Francis officially ‘unblocked’ Romero’s path to Beatification; therefore, both he and Pope John Paul II will be up for sainthood simultaneously. If this is not already interesting (or is “scandalous” a better word?) enough, Rome is also looking into Romero’s death to see if it was in fact martyrdom due to faith or due to politics. If they rule that he was killed due to faith, he would automatically be Beatified and therefore only need one miracle in his name in order to become a saint (as opposed to the traditional 2). The article I attached is only one of many that I came across, yet they all sing the same tune. Controversy revolving around the simultaneous beatification of Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Romero is due to the fact that the former greatly opposed the ideology of the latter. During his time as Pope, JP II distinctly turned a blind eye towards Latin America during the rise of Liberation Theology. Being from Poland and living through the holocaust, he had a pronounced hatred towards leftist politics and communism, and Liberation Theology was associated with both. However, throughout his time as Archbishop, Romero consistently denied connection with the ideology in question.
Personally, I believe that both of these men are more than qualified for sainthood, and I hope that they both make it through the process without difficulty. Yet I wonder how Romero’s death will be defined- martyrdom due to faith or martyrdom due to politics. The two seemed very intertwined throughout his time in El Salvador. Learning about Romero was incredibly interesting to me as I was raised Roman Catholic, and I attended a Catholic school for 10 years- the same one that my mother taught at for 14. I distinctly remember Pope John Paul II and learning all about the wonderful things he was doing for the church- he was one of the most active popes yet to travel as much as he did and visit various surprising places, such as Cuba. Now that I’m becoming more informed on Latin America and religious history of this part of the world, I’m interested to see the outcome of these recent unfolding events. I’ll be sure to keep both sainthood-worthy men in my prayers.