The Pope’s meeting with Mr. Sánchez Cerén also comes less than one year after Pope Francis met with El Salvador’s President, Mauricio Funes, who is still in office, also to push for Romero’s beatification. Mr. Funes became the first politician from the Left to be elected in El Salvador after the Civil War that raged in that country during the 80s. And Mr. Sánchez Cerén will be the first president to come from the guerrillas.
Friday’s meeting takes place in a flurry of activity by political and religious Salvadoran officials pushing for their slain shepherd’s beatification. A contingent of four Salvadoran bishops, including the current Archbishop of San Salvador, are also in Rome these days. Like the Vice President, they will be attending the double canonizations on Sunday, April 27, of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. But they will also meet with the Pope and hand over a letter inviting the Pope to El Salvador in connection with the hoped-for canonization.
There is some speculation that the Salvadorans are lobbying for Archbishop Romero to be beatified as early as March of next year, when it will be 35 years since his assassination, and to be canonized before 2017, the year that marks the centennial since his birth in 1917.
|UPDATE: Mr. Sánchez Cerén greets Pope Francis at the canonization ceremony Sunday.|
|Holy diplomacy: three Salvadoran presidents discuss the Romero canonization with popes: Tony Saca with Benedict XVI in 2005; Mauricio Funes with Francis in 2013; and Mr. Sánchez Cerén with Francis this year.|