|Archbishops Chavez, Romero and Rivera, and Father Grande.|
According to Fr. Tojeira, Archbishop Escobar announced that he would launch a diocesan inquiry, which is the first phase in a canonization process. He made the announcement at a meeting of the clergy on Tuesday March 4. Addressing more than 100 priests, the archbishop said he would initiate proceedings for the beatification of Father Rutilio Grande and “that he had already ordered a priest to begin gathering information to be able to open the diocesan process for the beatification of Rutilio as a martyr,” Tojeira said. [Update: the Jesuit Provincial for Central America announced that the Postulator of the cause will be Msgr. Rafael Urrutia—who also headed the diocesan cause for Archbishop Romero.]
When Pope Francis met with the President of El Salvador in May 2013, the Pope suggested that Father Grande could be the next canonization from El Salvador, after the process for Archbishop Romero was complete. The Jesuit provincial said the Pope knows the life and death of P. Grande in detail, because in those days, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the Argentine Provincial. “We are honored that the Archbishop has set his eyes on Rutilio Grande and wants to start the process of beatification,” said Tojeira. “We were already convinced that he was a martyr. We were just waiting for Archbishop Romero to be beatified to introduce the cause of beatification for Rutilio, but the Archbishop is ahead of us.”Father Grande was master of ceremonies when Romero was elevated to bishop. In a famous photo (seen in this post’s header) Father Grande appears alongside Romero as he imparts his pontifical blessing during the ceremony in 1970.
His most memorable discourse is the “Apopa Sermon.” Here are some excerpts:
I am afraid, my brothers and sisters, that very soon the Bible and the Gospel will not be able to enter our borders. We will only get the covers, because all of its pages are subversive. Subversive against sin, of course! I am struck by the avalanche of imported sects and slogans of freedom of religion, in this context, that are making the rounds. Freedom of religion, freedom of worship! Freedom of worship to bring us a false god! Freedom of worship to bring us a god who is in the clouds, sitting in a hammock. Freedom of religion to present us a Christ who is not the true Christ. It is a false one, and this is serious!
I fear, my brothers and sisters, that if Jesus of Nazareth returned, as in times of old, down from Galilee to Judea, i.e. from Chalatenango to San Salvador, I dare say that he would not get get his preaching and actions, in this day and age, past Apopa [Salvadoran place names] .... He would be detained there. Who knows if he would make it to Apopa, right? Better yet, probably Guazapa: come down on Him. He would be taken before the Juntas for being unconstitutional and subversive. The God-made-man, the prototype of man, would be accused of being a troublemaker, a foreign Jew, a conjurer with exotic and strange ideas that are “contrary to democracy,” i.e., contrary to the minority.... Surely, my brothers and sisters, they would crucify him again.