Wednesday, August 23, 2006

OSCAR ROMERO, BEACON OF ECUMENISM


Although commentators are quick to point out that an invisible minority in the Church opposes Archbishop Romero’s canonization, an official Vatican document states that Romero is considered to be among the decidedly non-disputed candidates for the sainthood. A 1998 declaration by the Ecumenical Commission of the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, states that there are are controversial figures, and then there are holy people whose merit is "recognised beyond confessional boundaries," i.e., not just in Catholic circles, but across other denominations. The declaration, authored by Bishop Paul-Werner Scheele, the President of the Ecumenical Commission of the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, specifically mentions Archbishop Romero as an example of the undisputed exemplars of Christian holiness. The declaration makes clear that Archbishop Romero’s saintliness is not only recognized in Catholic circles, but in the "full communion" of Christendom.


The declaration states in relevant part:


«All Christians agree that the Holy Spirit is the sanctifying spirit.

«In many places Christians have acknowledged in their midst martyrs and exemplary confessors of faith, hope and charity - both men and women. Some of these, such as Francis of Assisi, Roublev, Johann Sebastian Bach, Monsignor Romero, Elizabeth Seton, the martyr Anuarite of Zaire, and Martin Luther King, have been for various reasons recognised beyond confessional boundaries. Ecumenical groups could look at the example of some of these witnesses with a view to identifying how the work of the Holy Spirit can be distinguished in them and what their role might be in the promotion of full communion.


«Other figures remain controversial, or indeed are considered symbols of division and rupture. [To the Commission’s mind, Romero was clearly not in this latter group, as he was named in the former.] »


As we point out in the Wikipedia article on Romero, “The work of Romero was honored by various other religious denominations of Christendom, most notably the Church of England and its Anglican Communion. In July 1998, the Church of England unveiled a statue depicting Romero at the west door of Westminster Abbey in London in the United Kingdom as part of a monument in memory of 20th century Christian martyrs. The Church of England and its Anglican Communion also added to its liturgical calendar a memorial commemoration celebrated annually on March 24 (The liturgical calendar is similar to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints).” Catholic shrines to ecumenical martyrs also place Romero among the consistently recurring martyrs of modern times (for example, in the shrine on Tiber Island, near the Vatican).

Post a Comment