Sunday, May 06, 2018

Rosa Chavez: Rome or Panama?


Mixed signals: will the Romero canonization be in Rome or Latin America?
#BlessedRomero #Beatification
Reports following the visit of Pope Francis to the titular parish of Salvadoran Cardinal Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez on Sunday seemed to cast doubt on the information previously released by the canonization office for Archbishop Romero in El Salvador, that the ceremony would be in Rome in October. According to an article in a Roman newspaper, the cardinal said after greeting the pope that “the site of Romero’s canonization will be a great surprise,” stirring speculation that the ceremony would take place during the pontiff’s trip to Panama in January 2019.  [Update: Rosa Chavez has publicly distanced himself from the speculation.  In a message on Wednesday, May 6, the cardinal expressed gratitude for the clarification of “many things that are being said that are not accurate. It goes without saying that I can not say when and where Archbishop Romero will be canonized.”]
To shed the most light on the subject, Super Martyrio has obtained the video clip of the interview (in Italian), has transcribed it and hereby produces this translation of its most relevant portion:
Q.        May 19th is the consistory. What will be said in that consistory? Let us clarify that.
A.        The Pope was good enough to invite me to participate in that consistory. It will be a unique experience for me to vote in his favor. [I.e., to vote for Romero—the consistory is part of the canonization approval process, even though the vote is just a formality.]
Q.        Will the canonization date be had?
A.        Place and date. Where and when.
Q.        The where, the when. Should we be ready for a big surprise?
A.        Oh, yes, yes. We look forward to this moment with a lot, a lot of joy.
Now a few observations. First, to recognize that at this time we simply have no official information—there is no announcement, and we will simply have to wait to get it. Second, reports that Rosa Chavez said that the ceremony will be in Panama are taking a big leap, since he simply does not speak with such specificity. Third, even the phrase attributed to the cardinal, that “the site of Romero’s canonization will be a great surprise,” is a phrase used by the interviewer, not the cardinal, and therefore it is necessary to exercise prudence in interpreting the interview .
With all this, Super Martyrio does not perceive a contradiction between what was said in this interview and what we have recently reported, especially the statements of Msgr. Rafael Urrutia, the vice-postulator of the cause, that the canonization will be in Rome in October. Of course we will have to wait two more weeks to have the official confirmation. For example, I have not finalized my travel schedule and will not do so until I have the formal information.
We will continue to watch and wait.  And, of course, to pray.

Update: On Monday morning, Card. Rosa Chavez sent an audio message to Salvadoran Catholic radio recapping the Sunday event. In describing his communications with the Pope. Rosa Chavez only said what he said in the interview above—that the Pope had personally invited him to be present during the consistory. The message was approximately six minutes long, of Rosa Chavez speaking unprompted, and contained no references to any “surprises.”
The Pope greets Rosa Chavez.
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