Monday, June 24, 2013

ROMERO AGAIN IN FRANCIS’ EAR


Pope Francis has once again been reminded of Archbishop Oscar Romero—this time during an audience with the Argentine Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Félix Díaz, the leader of the ethnic Qom from Formosa, Argentina, which centered on the concerns of the indigenous peoples of Latin America.  According to Pérez Esquivel, the papal audience also included a discussion relating to Liberation Theology and the Church’s commitment to the poor, during which the Nobel laureate presented the Pontiff with a copy of a document called the “Pact of the Catacombs,” signed by forty Council Fathers in November 1965, during the Second Vatican Council, in which the signatories agreed to take up a commitment on behalf of the poor.  The presentation was part of an outreach to the Pontiff by Perez Esquivel on behalf of Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga, a progressive Latin American cleric.  According to reports, the Pope was able to appreciate among the signatories to the document, the name of Archbishop Romero.  According to other reports, the Pope confirmed he had "unblocked" the canonization of Archbishop Romero.
In fact, Archbishop Romero was not among the signatories to the document, signed after a special mass in the Catacombs of St. Domitilla on November 16, 1965.  A study by Fr. José Oscar Beozzo of the Pontifical Catholic University of Río de Janeiro of the attendees to the Mass shows that Romero was not among those present (Romero was not made a bishop until 1970).  Nevertheless, it is striking that Archbishop Romero’s name has been raised yet again before the Pontiff.  The subject of Archbishop Romero had been discussed in at least six previous meetings during Pope Francis’ 3- month pontificate:
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