Despite his controversial political ideologies, Archbishop Oscar Romero has had his ban on his sainthood process lifted by similar-minded Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has once again shown that he is willing to circumvent old policies to honor those who have lived their lives for God. He recently lifted the ban on beatifying Oscar Romero, an El-Salvadorian Archbishop who was gunned down during a Mass in 1980. His beatification is the first of many steps to becoming sainted. While this does not guarantee that he will be sainted any time soon, it is seen as a positive step towards healing the faith that was harmed by his murder.
The Pope’s Justification
While many have questioned his decisions on controversial subjects on the past, most people seem willing to support Romero’s beatification. After all, he was a tremendously popular Archbishop in El Salvador and lived his life by serving the needs of others. The Pope has said that there are no true doctrine issues that are raised by his beatification, and Archbishop Romero is most deserving of the honor. He has also expressed his willingness to have the process expedited if possible.
Oscar Romero’s Criticism Of The Church
Oscar Romero was not kept from the beatification process on a whim. There were said to be serious ideological problems with the way that he believed the church should be represented. Romero often took the perspective of the poor into account when he expressed his views about the church. While this may have contributed to his outspoken nature on the topic of church policy, many suspect that this has led to a type of kinship with Pope Francis, who is famous for his work with the poor.
His views on the church were based in the Liberation Theology, a politically-motivated take on religion that emphasizes the parts of scripture which focus on the needs of the poor. This involved criticizing some of the highest echelons of the Catholic faith, which put a great distance between him and the Vatican, and ultimately resulted in the ban.
Oscar Romero’s Political Views
One of the reasons that Pope Francis’ predecessors have upheld the ban on Romero’s progress into sainthood is that he had political views which were described as troubling. He held very deep Marxist beliefs that aimed a great deal of blame at the wealthy for the troubles that were plaguing the world.
The right-wing Salvadorian government that was in place during the 1980s did not take kindly to his forthright method of criticizing the institutions that they represented. This opposition to their harsh tactics in keeping the country in line ultimately cost him his life when he was gunned down.