JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017
|Romero poster at Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Francis kisses Romero cross; Card. Amato.|
The year has opened with favorable expressions regarding Blessed Archbishop Oscar A. Romero resonating in the highest circles of the Catholic Church in Rome.
In an annual speech at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the ecclesial body currently considering Romero’s canonization cause, the Cardinal Prefect of said body highlighted Romero among the distinguished saints of the Church. Musing on the phrase “factory of saints” to describe his work, Cardinal Angelo Amato said in a speech on January 8:
Like the 'factories' that produce, for example, excellent luxury cars, such as Mercedes, Ferrari or Chevrolet, the result of continuous research and innovation, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints also ‘produces’ Blesseds and Saints, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Father Pio of Pietrelcina, John Paul II, and Archbishop Oscar Romero, who, because of their extraordinary evangelical witness, are in our times the flagship of the Church and of society.
The inclusion of Romero among the greatest saints of the last decades in a prepared speech by the highest authority in the saint-making process in the church after the Pope himself is especially noteworthy given that Archbishop Romero has not been canonized yet and his cause is up for consideration in these days. [See Prediction: “Saint Romero,” 2018.]
Without uttering a word, Pope Francis also manifested himself in Romero's favor during the Pope's meeting with the Vatican’s accredited diplomatic corps on the same day, January 8. In the words of Vaticanista Andres Beltramo on Twitter, "the Ambassador of El Salvador in the Vatican [Manuel Roberto Lopez Barrera] gave [Francis] a cross with the image of Archbishop Romero and the Pope kissed it immediately." The Pope receives many gifts during such encounters, including religious images, but it is rare to see such a show of reverence and affection.
A few days later, the leaders of various Christian churches in Italy quoted Romero in a joint message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Signed by representatives of the Catholic Church, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, and the Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta, the statement reads:
The Lord asks us to be prophets again in this world, wearing the gospel armor of peace and justice to respond to evil with good, hatred and enmity with love. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, archbishop of San Salvador murdered on the altar for his love of the Gospel and the poor, said that ... “The only violence that the gospel countenances is that which one does to oneself.” It is the continuous testimony of the martyrs, whose blood is, therefore, a seed of unity.
That same day, the postulator of Romero’s cause, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, was appointed to the commission of bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Celebrating his nomination on Twitter, Archbishop Paglia stated, “Today’s appointment reminds me I must re-double my efforts as Postulator of the Causes of the Martyr-Bishop Oscar Romero and the Cuban-American Priest Ven. Felix Varela.”
All these citations to Romero by the highest Roman authorities suggest that the officials of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints are also redoubling their efforts to bring Archbishop Romero to the altars as soon as possible.