Friday, September 15, 2017

Blessed Romero at the UN opening


JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017


#BlessedRomero #Beatification
The religious service that inaugurates the opening of the current session of the United Nations heard a call for diplomats to follow the example of Arcbishop Romero. The prayer was given by Bishop John Barres, the Bishop of Rockville Center, and coincided with the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.  Here are selected excerpts from Bishop Barres’ meditation.  [Video.]

A few weeks ago on Long Island, where I became the bishop in January, we were visited by Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez of El Salvador. Cardinal Rosa Chavez was a close friend and right hand of El Salvador’s courageous archbishop and martyr, Oscar Romero, who was murdered in 1980 while celebrating Mass in a hospital caring for the terminally ill. He was assassinated minutes after he had summoned soldiers conscientiously to obey God in respecting the human dignity of their neighbors rather than follow the directives of government and military leaders ordering them to violate their neighbors’ human rights through torture, slaughter and other evils.
Cardinal Rosa Chavez and I jointly made an appeal for comprehensive immigration reform in this country and globally, grounding that appeal in the principles of the dignity of the human person, human life and the family, and in the social justice practice of going to the roots of social problems and systematically addressing poverty. We also appealed to gang members on Long Island and throughout the United States, who are enmeshed in the evil of human trafficking and drug cartels, to reject the culture of death and dehumanization and embrace a culture of life and love.
Archbishop Romero was executed because he would not bend in this defense of the intrinsic value of the lives of all people, especially the poorest and most marginalized. His message in support of life and dignity has never faded but instead has become louder and more powerful with every passing year. How moving it was that in March 2015, to mark the 35th anniversary of his death, there was a stunning exhibition at the Curved Wall of the UN Conference Building detailing his life, work and martyrdom, and illustrating how his example of service and leadership in the cause of human dignity continues to shine as a summons for all peoples of the world to emulate.
Archbishop Romero — like the heroes of 9/11, like so many agents of the United Nations who give their lives to travel into areas of war and abject poverty to save lives or provide them with a better life — is one in a firmament of bright stars illuminating the world’s darkest nights and indicating to us all the path to personal fulfillment through lifting others up. He humbly shows us how to focus on people and strive effectively for peace and a decent life for all.
As we come together tonight in prayer on the vigil of the beginning of the 72nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, we ask God to bless the efforts of all those associated with the UN to advance human dignity and the human rights that flow from it, to protect us and the world from the scourge of war and environmental destruction, and to lift up all those who are on the margins. We ask him to bestow on us wisdom, prudence, perseverance and integrity, to give us courage not to give up when we encounter obstacles and mercifully to draw long-term good even from our failures. We ask him in a special way to grant the leaders and all those who work at or for the United Nations, the gift of compassion and passion, so that, like Archbishop Romero, hearing the cries of the poor, needy and abandoned, they may live up to the high hope the peoples of the world place in them and, indeed, lead the way to a more united, fraternal, just and merciful world.
May God bless you all and help you bring great fruit from the 72nd Session that begins tomorrow.

El Beato Romero en la apertura de la ONU


AÑO JUBILAR por el CENTENARIO del BEATO ROMERO, 2016 — 2017:


#BeatoRomero #Beatificación
El servicio religioso que inaugura la apertura de la sesión actual de las Naciones Unidas escuchó un llamado a que los diplomáticos sigan el ejemplo de Mons. Romero. La oración estuvo a cargo de Mons. John Barres, Obispo de Rockville Center, y coincidió con el aniversario de los ataques del 11 de septiembre. He aquí algunos fragmentos de su meditación. [Video (en inglés).]

Hace unas semanas en Long Island, donde asumí como obispo en enero, tuvimos una visita del cardenal Gregorio Rosa Chávez de El Salvador. El cardenal Rosa Chávez fue un amigo cercano y mano derecha del valiente arzobispo y mártir de El Salvador, Óscar Romero, que fue asesinado en 1980 mientras celebraba misa en un hospital para enfermos terminales. Fue asesinado minutos después de haber instado a los soldados a obedecer conscientemente a Dios en el respeto de la dignidad humana de sus prójimos en lugar de acatar directrices del gobierno y líderes militares ordenándolos a violar los derechos humanos de los demás mediante la tortura, la matanza y otras fechorías.
El cardenal Rosa Chávez y yo hicimos conjuntamente un llamamiento a una reforma migratoria integral en este país y a nivel mundial, fundamentando ese llamamiento en los principios de la dignidad de la persona, la vida humana y la familia y en la práctica de la justicia social que va a las raíces de los problemas sociales y de abordar sistemáticamente la pobreza. También hicimos un llamamiento a los pandilleros de Long Island y por todo los Estados Unidos, que se integran a las redes del tráfico humano y de los cárteles que exportan droga, a rechazar la cultura de la muerte y la deshumanización y retomar la cultura de la vida y del amor.
Monseñor Romero fue asesinado porque no se doblegó en la defensa del valor intrínseco de la vida de todas las personas, especialmente de los más pobres y marginados. Su mensaje en favor de la vida y de la dignidad nunca ha desaparecido, pero al contrario se vuelve más fuerte y más poderoso cada año. Qué conmovedor ha sido tener en marzo de 2015, con motivo del 35 aniversario de su muerte, una impresionante exposición en el Muro Curvo del Edificio de la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas, en la que se detallaba su vida, su obra y su martirio, ilustrando que su ejemplo de servicio y liderazgo en la causa de la dignidad humana sigue brillando como una convocatoria que todos los pueblos del mundo deben emular.
Monseñor Romero—como los héroes del 11-S, como tantos agentes de las Naciones Unidas que dan su vida para llegar a zonas de guerra y pobreza abyecta para salvar vidas o darles una vida mejor—es una de las estrellas brillantes en el firmamento que iluminan las noches más oscuras del mundo y nos indica el camino hacia la realización personal levantando a los demás. Él nos enseña humildemente cómo fijarnos en las personas y esforzarnos eficazmente por la paz y por una vida decente para todos.
Al reunirnos esta noche en oración en la vigilia del comienzo de la 72ª sesión de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, pidamos a Dios que bendiga los esfuerzos de todos los asociados con la ONU para promover la dignidad humana y los derechos humanos que fluyen para protegernos a nosotros y al mundo del flagelo de la guerra y la destrucción del medio ambiente, y para levantar a todos los que están al margen. Pidámosle que nos conceda la sabiduría, la prudencia, la perseverancia y la integridad, que nos dé el valor de no darnos por vencidos cuando nos encontremos con obstáculos y, misericordiosamente, de sacar bien a largo plazo incluso desde nuestros fracasos. Le pedimos de manera especial que conceda a los dirigentes ya todos los que trabajan para las Naciones Unidas, el don de la compasión y de la pasión para que, al igual que Monseñor Romero, al oír los gritos de los pobres, necesitados y abandonados, puedan estar a la altura de la esperanza que los pueblos del mundo depositan en ellos y, de hecho, abrir el camino a un mundo más unido, fraterno, justo y misericordioso.
Que Dios los bendiga a todos y los ayude a traer grandes frutos de la 72ª Sesión que comienza mañana.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

My question for Pope Francis


JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017


#BlessedRomero #Beatification
Vatican reporter Massimo Faggioli joked over his Twitter feed, “Many Catholics are looking forward to the next in-flight press conference of Pope Francis.”  He added the hashtag, “#DACA,” a reference to the recent action by the Trump Administration to end legal accommodations for young undocumented migrants, sure to be the subject of at least one question during the Pope’s return flight, when he customarily gives an on-board press conference (to the delight of Francis supporters and the chagrin of his detractors).
It is precisely because of the opportunity for a frank exchange that these encounters offer that I hereby offer any Vaticanista who is open to it a suggested question about Oscar Romero they might ask the Pope during the return trip conference.
The in-flight papal press conferences are opportunities to gain fresh knowledge or insight on pending canonization causes.  It was during such an encounter ten years ago that Pope Benedict was asked about the Romero beatification.  In the ninth question, toward the end of the conference, the correspondent from I. Media in France asked Benedict if, during that trip to “the Continent of Archbishop Oscar Romero,” he cared to comment on the status of the cause or “how you see this figure.” [See Video of the exchange—in Italian.]  Benedict was remarkably candid in his response, saying that he had “no doubt” that Romero personally “merits beatification,” but that issues relating to the political implications still needed to be worked out.  The unusual airing of the Pope’s personal views was expunged from the official transcript of the exchange.  But the furtive endorsement arguably added new impetus to the cause.
Similarly, when Francis was asked about the Romero cause during his flight back from Korea in 2014, it revealed the Vatican’s inside thinking not specifically about Romero but about the canonization process in general.  By then, Romero was in the home stretch of his path to beatification.  But Francis also said in response to the question from Reuters’ Philip Pulella, “What I would like is a clarification about martyrdom in odium fidei, whether it can occur either for having confessed the Creed or for having done the works which Jesus commands with regard to one’s neighbor.  And this is a task for the theologians.”  Earlier this year—nearly three years after the Pope’s remark—Francis announced a separate track for beatification for “those Christians who, following in the footsteps and teachings of the Lord Jesus, have voluntarily and freely offered their lives for others and have persevered until death in this regard”—more or less as he had telegraphed in 2014.
Accordingly, it is in this latter spirit that I would frame a new question to Francis about Romero.  The status of the Romero canonization cause is generally known, due to information made public by the Archdiocese of San Salvador and the postulator, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, establishing that Rome is in the process of studying a miracle which, if approved, could lead to Romero’s canonization in the next year or two.  [More.Therefore a question regarding the status of the cause would seem to me a wasted chance to glean fresh information.  Instead, what could be more interesting is a question designed to prompt a Benedict-like personal reflection.
Indeed, given the context of this visit, such question seems most appropriate.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of Romero’s birth, and therefore it is natural to reflect on his legacy and the impact he has had on the Church.  The day before he departs, Francis will visit Medellin, the Colombian city where the Latin American bishops’ conference adopted the phrase “the preferential option for the poor,” and the deep commitment to social justice that, for many, Romero exemplified.  This year is also the tenth anniversary of the Aparecida Conference, which is seen as the blueprint for Francis’ pontificate, including his recommitment to being “a Church which is poor and for the poor,” as Francis has stated the formula. (That is where Benedict was going when he said that he had no doubt Romero deserved to be beatified; and Francis himself, as Cardinal Bergoglio, reportedly told Salvadoran clerics that if he were pope, the first thing he would do is canonize Romero.)  Finally, the postwar climate in Colombia where the pope has been makes El Salvador a relevant point of reference.
Therefore, the question I would put to His Holiness is:
·         In the centenary of his birth, how has Bl. Oscar Romero influenced the Church in the Continent, your own spiritual life and/or your Papacy?


Mi pregunta para Francisco


AÑO JUBILAR por el CENTENARIO del BEATO ROMERO, 2016 — 2017:


#BeatoRomero #Beatificación
El periodista vaticano Massimo Faggioli bromeó en un mensaje de Twitter: “Muchos católicos están anticipando la próxima conferencia de prensa del Papa Francisco”. Añadió el hashtag “#DACA”, una referencia a la reciente acción de la administración Trump para cancelar los arreglos legales para los jóvenes inmigrantes indocumentados, que seguramente será el tema de al menos una pregunta durante el vuelo de regreso del Papa, cuando suele dar una conferencia de prensa a bordo (al deleite de sus partidarios y el disgusto de sus detractores).
Es precisamente por la posibilidad de un intercambio franco que ofrecen estos encuentros que ofrezco a cualquier Vaticanista que esté abierto a ello una pregunta sugerida acerca de Mons. Óscar Romero que podrían preguntar al Papa durante la conferencia del viaje de regreso.
Las conferencias de prensa en-vuelo de los papas son oportunidades para obtener nuevos conocimientos sobre las causas de canonización pendientes. Fue durante un tal encuentro hace diez años que alguien preguntó al Papa Benedicto sobre la beatificación Romero. En la novena pregunta, hacia el final de la conferencia, el corresponsal de I. Media de Francia le preguntó a Benedicto si, durante ese viaje al “continente de monseñor Óscar Romero”, gustaría comentar el estado de la causa o “cómo ve usted esta figura”.  [Ver el Video—en italiano.] Benedicto XVI fue muy sincero en su respuesta, aseverando un “no dudo” sobre si Romero personalmente “merece la beatificación”, pero que las implicaciones políticas aun deberían ser investigadas. La expresión inusual de la opinión personal del Papa fue suprimida en la transcripción oficial del intercambio. Sin embargo, el respaldo efímero sin duda prestó un nuevo ímpetu a la causa.
Del mismo modo, cuando se le preguntó a Francisco sobre la causa de Romero durante su regreso de Corea en 2014, reveló el pensar vaticano—no específicamente sobre Romero, sino en los procesos de canonización, generalmente. Para entonces, Romero estaba en el tramo final de su camino hacia la beatificación. Pero Francisco dijo en respuesta a la pregunta de Philip Pulella, de Reuters: “Lo que a mí me gustaría es que se esclarezca: si se da martirio in odium fidei, por haber confesado a Cristo o por haber hecho las obras que Jesús nos manda para con el prójimo. Y esto tienen que hacerlo los teólogos, que lo están estudiando”. A principios de este año, casi tres años después del comentario del Papa, Francisco anunció una nueva pista hacia la beatificación para “aquellos cristianos que, siguiendo más de cerca los pasos y las enseñanzas del Señor Jesús, han ofrecido voluntaria y libremente su vida por los demás y perseverado hasta la muerte en este propósito”—más o menos como lo había presagiado en el 2014.
En consecuencia, es en este último sentido que plantearé una nueva pregunta para Francisco sobre Romero. El estado de la causa de canonización de Romero es generalmente conocido, debido a la información hecha pública por la Arquidiócesis de San Salvador y el postulador, Monseñor Vincenzo Paglia, estableciendo que Roma está en el proceso de estudiar un milagro que podría llevarnos a la canonización en el próximo un o dos años. [Más.] Por lo tanto, una pregunta sobre el estado de la causa me parecería una oportunidad perdida para recopilar información nueva. En cambio, lo que podría ser más interesante es una pregunta diseñada a impulsar una reflexión personal como lo hizo Benedicto.
De hecho, dado el contexto de esta visita, tal pregunta parece más que apropiada. Este año se cumplen los 100 años del nacimiento de Romero, por lo que es natural reflexionar sobre su legado y el impacto que ha tenido en la Iglesia. El día antes de su partida, Francisco visitará Medellín, la ciudad colombiana donde la conferencia episcopal latinoamericana adoptó la frase “la opción preferencial por los pobres” y el profundo compromiso con la justicia social que, para muchos, Romero ejemplificó. Este año es también el décimo aniversario de la Conferencia de Aparecida, considerada como el modelo del pontificado de Francisco, incluso su compromiso de volver a ser “una Iglesia pobre y para los pobres”, como Francisco ha expresado la fórmula. (Ahí es donde Benedicto se dirigía cuando dijo que no tenía ninguna duda de que Romero merecía ser beatificado, y el mismo Francisco, siendo el cardenal Bergoglio, dijo a unos clérigos salvadoreños que si él fuera papa, lo primero que haría sería canonizar a Romero).  Por último, el clima de posguerra en Colombia donde el Papa ha estado, hace de El Salvador un punto de referencia relevante.
Por lo tanto, la pregunta que le haría a Su Santidad es:
·         En el centenario de su nacimiento, ¿cómo ha influido el B. Óscar Romero en la Iglesia del Continente, en su propia vida espiritual y / o en su papado?


La mia domanda per Francesco


ANNO GIUBILARE per il CENTENARIO del BEATO ROMERO, 2016 — 2017


#BeatoRomero #Beatificazione
Il giornalista vaticano Massimo Faggioli ha scherzato sul suo feed Twitter: “Molti cattolici sono in attesa della prossima conferenza stampa a bordo del aereo di Papa Francesco”. Ha aggiunto l’hashtag, “#DACA”, un riferimento alla recente azione del governo di Trump per finire le sistemazioni legali per i giovani migranti senza documenti, che sicuramente sarà oggetto di almeno una domanda durante il volo di ritorno del papa, quando ci sarà l’abituale conferenza stampa a bordo (alla gioia dei sostenitori di Francesco e alla sconfitta dei suoi detrattori).
È proprio a causa della possibilità di uno scambio franco che questi incontri offrono che qui offro  qualsiasi Vaticanista aperto ad esso, una domanda su Oscar Romero per interrogare il papa durante la conferenza di ritorno.
Le conferenze stampa papale in volo sono occasioni per acquisire nuove conoscenze o approfondimenti sulle cause di canonizzazione in corso. È stato durante un incontro di dieci anni fa che Papa Benedetto fu chiesto per la beatificazione di Romero. Nella nona domanda, verso la fine della conferenza, il corrispondente di I. Media in Francia ha chiesto a Benedetto se, durante quel viaggio “nel continente del Vescovo Oscar Romero”, voleva commentare lo stato della causa o “come Lei vede questa figura”. [Vedi il video.] Benedetto ha stato molto sincero nella sua risposta, assicurando “io non dubito” che Romero personalmente “merita la beatificazione”, ma che le implicazioni politiche devono essere chiariti. L’inusuale diffusione delle opinioni personali del Papa è stata espulsa dalla trascrizione ufficiale dello scambio. Ma l’approvazione furtiva avrebbe dato un nuovo impulso alla causa.
Allo stesso modo, quando Francesco fu chiesto sulla causa Romero durante il suo volo di ritorno dalla Corea nel 2014, ha rivelato il pensiero interno del Vaticano non specificamente in torno a Romero, ma sul processo di canonizzazione in generale. Da allora, Romero si trovava nella parte finale del suo cammino verso la beatificazione. Ma Francesco ha detto in risposta alla domanda di Philip Pulella di Reuters: “Io, quello che vorrei, è che si chiarisca: quando c’è il martirio in odium fidei, sia per aver confessato il Credo, sia per aver fatto le opere che Gesù ci comanda, con il prossimo. E questo è un lavoro dei teologi, che lo stanno studiando”. All’inizio di quest’anno, quasi tre anni dopo l’osservazione del papa, Francesco ha annunciato una traccia separata per la beatificazione di “quei cristiani che, seguendo più da vicino le orme e gli insegnamenti del Signore Gesù, hanno offerto volontariamente e liberamente la vita per gli altri ed hanno perseverato fino alla morte in questo proposito”— pressappoco come aveva presaginato nel 2014.
Di conseguenza, in quest’ultimo spirito ho inquadrato una nuova domanda a Francesco su Romero. Lo status della causa di canonizzazione Romero è generalmente conosciuto, a causa delle informazioni rese pubbliche dall’Arcidiocesi di San Salvador e dal postulatore, l’Arcivescovo Vincenzo Paglia, che stabilisce che Roma è in fase di studio di un miracolo che, se approvato, potrebbe portare Romero alla canonizzazione nel prossimo anno o due. [Leggere di più.]  Quindi una domanda sullo stato della causa mi sembra una occasione sprecata per raccogliere nuove informazioni. Invece, ciò che potrebbe essere più interessante è una domanda progettata per lanciare una riflessione personale come quella di Benedetto.
Infatti, dato il contesto di questa visita, tale domanda sembra più appropriata. Quest’anno segna il 100 ° anniversario della nascita di Romero, e quindi è naturale riflettere sulla sua eredità e sull’impatto che ha avuto sulla Chiesa. Il giorno prima di partire, Francesco visiterà Medellin, la città colombiana dove la conferenza episcopale latinoamericana ha adottato la frase “l’opzione preferenziale per i poveri” e il profondo impegno per la giustizia sociale che per molti Romero ha esemplificato. Quest’anno è anche il decimo anniversario della Conferenza Aparecida, che è considerata come un roadmap per il pontificato di Francesco, incluso il suo impegno rinnovato all’essere “una Chiesa povera e per i poveri”, come Francesco ha dichiarato la formula. (Benedetto stava andando lì quando disse che non aveva dubbi sul fatto che Romero meritasse di essere beatificato, e Francesco stesso, come il cardinale Bergoglio, ha detto ai cleri Salvadorani che, se fosse papa, la prima cosa che avrebbe fatto sarebbe canonizzare Romero).  Infine, il clima postbellico in Colombia dove il papa è stato rende El Salvador un punto di riferimento rilevante.
Pertanto, la domanda che chiederei il Santo Padre sarebbe:
·         Nel centenario della sua nascita, come ha influenzato il B. Oscar Romero sulla Chiesa nel continente, la sua vita spirituale e / o il suo papato?


Monday, September 04, 2017

Un año de la Coronilla en la Cripta: como el Papa Francisco quiere


AÑO JUBILAR por el CENTENARIO del BEATO ROMERO, 2016 — 2017:

Foto Tania Escobar.
Google Translate:
#BeatoRomero #Beatificación
Este domingo 3 de septiembre de 2017, hubo una celebración en la Cripta de la Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador por el primer año del rezo de la Coronilla del Beato Óscar Romero a la par de su Sepulcro en ese lugar.  Para la ocasión se exhibió el documental “El Desagravio”, y el cineasta Gianni Beretta estuvo presente para hablar sobre los pormenores de su producción.  El evento también conllevó un pastel, tamales, y—por supuesto—el rezo de la Coronilla, liderada por Paulita Pike de la asociación laica Cultura Romeriana.  [Fotos.]
Para contextualizar el evento, es necesario repasar brevemente la historia de la Coronilla, escrita por este servidor originalmente en el 2005, y aprobada oficialmente por la Arquidiócesis de San Salvador el año pasado.  Fue presentada formalmente para las celebraciones del natalicio de Romero del 2016, y rezada por primera vez en la Cripta el 21 de agosto del 2016.  Cultura Romeriana coordinó la impresión de 5,000 ejemplares , con la dirección artística de Paulita Pike y el diseño de Caro Jaime, pagadas por el generoso patrocinio del Arzobispado de San Salvador.  Paulita llevó el panfleto a Ciudad Barrios, tierra natal del Beato, dejando copias con el párroco de la iglesia local y al Nuncio Apostólico para El Salvador, quien las llevó a Roma.  El 1ero de junio del año actual, se estableció el rezo de la Coronilla en la Diócesis de Tarahumara, México.
Sin embargo, el camino de esta devoción no ha sido del todo sin estorbos y obstrucciones.  A pesar de contar con el apoyo del arzobispo, los organizadores del rezo en la Cripta se han encontrado en una lucha constante por mantener el espacio, a veces cruzándose con otros grupos parroquiales, con los guardianes de la cripta, y hasta con los sacerdotes encargados de su administración.  La batalla frontal por mantener la devoción permanentemente en el lugar donde reposan los restos mortales del primer santo salvadoreño le ha tocado a la ya mencionada Paulita, como la gestora de Cultura Romeriana, quien ha hecho un cabildeo constante para que la Coronilla fuera aprobada, para que su rezo fuera hecho correctamente, y más que todo, para que no se le cierren las puertas o fuera desplazado de la Cripta.
Aquí cabe resaltar un punto que ocasionalmente se pierde en el mundo de los asuntos de la Iglesia, y eso es que el rezo de la Coronilla en la Cripta no solamente cuenta con el respaldo del arzobispado, sino que encaja armónicamente con lo que el Papa Francisco ha dicho en reiteradas ocasiones que quiere ver con respecto a Mons. Romero.  El Nuncio Apostólico (el representante oficial del papa) Mons. León Kalenga lo ha repetido varias veces: que el Papa Francisco quiere ver crecer la devoción a Romero entre la gente.  No hay canonización sin culto”—ha dicho rotundamente Mons. Kalenga—“si hacemos bien el culto, las devociones, las peregrinaciones, oraciones”.  Por otro lado, si se desarrolla una verdadera devoción popular, dice Mons. Kalenga, “estas acciones serán escuchadas en Roma” a favor de la eventual canonización del Beato.  En este sentido, el papa ha señalado la importancia de la Cripta, dice el Arzobispo José Luis Escobar, como el lugar “donde él está”, y que por ende debe ser un centro de su devoción.
En términos generalizados, el llamamiento del papa de fomentar la devoción a Romero concuerda con su opinión sobre la importancia de la piedad popular.  Esta, ha escrito Francisco, es “una manera legítima de vivir la fe, un modo de sentirse parte de la Iglesia, y una forma de ser misioneros” que “conlleva la gracia de la misionariedad, del salir de sí y del peregrinar”, ya que “el caminar juntos hacia los santuarios y el participar en otras manifestaciones de la piedad popular, también llevando a los hijos o invitando a otros, es en sí mismo un gesto evangelizador”.  [Papa Francisco, «Evangelii Gaudium», 124.]  Pienso en la fe firme de esas madres al pie del lecho del hijo enfermo que se aferran a un rosario aunque no sepan hilvanar las proposiciones del Credo”, escribe el Papa; “quien ama al santo Pueblo fiel de Dios no puede ver estas acciones sólo como una búsqueda natural de la divinidad; son la manifestación de una vida teologal animada por la acción del Espíritu Santo que ha sido derramado en nuestros corazones”.  [Id., 125.]
Finalmente, para Francisco, la piedad popular supone un fuerte antídoto contra el mal del clericalismo, que es el principal impedimento para el ejercicio libre de la piedad popular.  El clericalismo lejos de impulsar los distintos aportes, propuestas, poco a poco va apagando el fuego profético que la Iglesia toda está llamada a testimoniar en el corazón de sus pueblos”, escribió el Pontífice en una carta a la Pontificia Comisión para América Latina.  Para resistir el mal del clericalismo, dice el Santo Padre, es necesario confiar en los laicos: “Confiemos en nuestro Pueblo, en su memoria y en su ‘olfato’, confiemos que el Espíritu Santo actúa en y con ellos, y que este Espíritu no es solo ‘propiedad’ de la jerarquía eclesial”. [Id.]
La acción de los laicos, concluye Francisco, es “una acción que no queda ligada a la esfera íntima de la persona sino por el contrario se transforma en cultura; una cultura popular evangelizada contiene valores de fe y de solidaridad que pueden provocar el desarrollo de una sociedad más justa y creyente, y posee una sabiduría peculiar que hay que saber reconocer con una mirada agradecida”. [Id.]  Esto último encaja con el actuar de Cultura Romeriana, que trata de ligar la espiritualidad de la Coronilla con la vitalidad de la cultura popular, como ha estado manifestado brillantemente al celebrar la Coronilla junto a la proyección de un célebre documental sobre Mons. Romero.
Ustedes tienen una figura que es universal para la historia de la humanidad”—en Mons. Romero—ha dicho el cineasta Beretta en la celebración en la Cripta, según Tania Escobar que estuvo presente.  Y en la Coronilla de la Cripta, Cultura Romeriana está proponiéndola en la clave universal del Papa Francisco.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Blessed Romero in canonization poll



JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017

Google Translate:
#BlessedRomero #Beatification
Blessed Oscar Romero is included in a Catholic News Agency poll asking readers on the CNA website which of four blessed they “would like to see canonized first.”  The four choices are:
            Pier Giorgio Frassati (Italian, 1901-1925).  Bl. Frassati was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic and social activist, who died of polio aged 24.  He was beatified on May 20, 1990 by Pope John Paul II.
            Chiara Badano (Italian, 1971-1990).  Bl. Badano was a teenager from the Focolare Movement who died of bone cancer.  She was beatified at lightning speed 20 years after her death on September 25, 2010 under Pope Benedict XVI.
            Oscar Romero (Salvadoran, 1917-1980).  Bl. Romero is the only contender from the Americas and the only martyr in the group.  He was beatified on May 23, 2015 under Pope Francis.
            John Henry Newman (English, 1801-1890).  Bl. Newman was an Anglican priest, poet and theologian and later a Catholic cardinal.  He was beatified in England on September 19, 2010 by Pope Benedict during his papal visit there.
All four are eligible for canonization as all four have been beatified and are one miracle away from being elevated to the altars.  Obviously, the poll is non-binding and neither its result nor any showing of popularity regarding each candidate will move that person closer to the sainthood.  This is not to say that the opinion of the faithful is not taken into account in the canonization process.  The “sensus fidelium” comes to bear indirectly in at least two ways.  First, the requirements include that the person nominated for the sainthood have a "reputation for holiness."  Secondly, after a person has been beatified or canonized, the Church likes to see the saint develop a “cult” of devotion.
The four sainthood candidates represented in the CNA poll each has the backing of his or her own constituency, for lack of a better word, within Catholicism.  During the first twenty-four hours that the poll was open, the “competition” was neck and neck.  Initially, Bl. Romero lagged slightly behind in third place numerically, but statistically tied with other candidates, usually with less than ten votes difference.  On day two, Romero rose to the top of the numerical vote count, but still remained statistically tied, with the difference narrowing to a couple of votes at times.  When this note was uploaded, Bl. Romero was tied with Bl. Frassati for first place, with each drawing 402 votes and 27%.  Bl. Newman was sixteen cast votes and one percentage point behind.  Bl. Badano brought up the rear with 312 votes and 21% of the preference.
The poll coincides with a big online push by backers of Bl. Pier Giorgio to spur his canonization in 2018.  According to a CNA story posted the same day as the poll, a group of Catholic young people are asking for testimonies and signatures in support of his canonization ahead of the 2018 synod on youth in Rome.  A web site promoting his cause is entitled “A Letter From Young People Around the World Asking the Holy Father to Canonize Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati at the Upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment in October 2018.”  It has reportedly collected thousands of signatures from over 50 countries, directed at the Pope and calling for Bl. Pier Giorgio’s canonization.  Obviously, Romero also has an active lobby working in his favor (full disclosure: I encouraged people to vote in his favor on my social networks) during his centennial year, and Bl. Newman also had a full court press during his centennial in 2010, and he enjoys the advantage of being the only candidate from an English-speaking country in this poll of English-speaking readers.
This last consideration raises a concern that often shadows canonization causes: whether sainthood candidates have networks of supporters who assist and even contribute financially to their causes, and whether it is appropriate to bring such resources to bear that may give an edge to one cause over another.  (Pope Francis has set caps on contributions.)  In the Romero cause, there was even a secret “negative campaign” mounted by his opponents, who tried to kill the canonization drive even before it got under way.  According to remarks by Romero’s postulator Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, “kilos of letters against him arrived in Rome” and slowed his sainthood process.  The interventions included an attempt by the Salvadoran oligarchy to thwart the establishment of a canonization process before it was instituted, but the effort was overridden by John Paul II personally.
Thankfully, those days are over and certainly nothing nefarious is afoot in the CNA poll, which offers readers a foretaste of what may be about to come, as one or more of these four sainthood candidates seems very likely to rise to the altars in 2018.  The representation of two youthful saints and two stately clerics also seems balanced.  Indeed, a few commenters on CNA’s Facebook page have lamented the inability to vote for “all of the above.”

Results as of 12:44 AM California time on August 25, 2017:



Update: A litte over twelve hours later, Blessed Pier Giorgio has taken a bit of a lead, as of 1:40 PM California time on Friday.


Final update: A checkup on the poll one week later finds Blessed Romero in third place—a showing that does not surprise his followers, familiar with the recurring obstacles in translating his broad support through traditional media.  Paulita Pike, a leader of Cultura Romeriana, a small lay movement around Romero in El Salvador, noted that the voting mechanism in the poll, which required users to register a CNA account and forward the poll to Twitter or Facebook, dissuaded participation of people who do not speak English and were unable or unwilling to jump through such hoops to vote.  Fr. Héctor Martínez, a priest from a rural village in Mexico who joined a pilgrimage to Romero’s birth site in El Salvador, noted that some of the barefoot peasants who made the three-day journey on foot would not have internet access to participate in the poll.  Accordingly, to the minds of Romero’s backers, support for Romero is like a sleeping giant who does not show up in such polls, but did when half a million turned out at his beatification.

[Partial index of the blog]

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Romero Centennial among the bishops


JUBILEE YEAR for the CENTENNIAL of BLESSED ROMERO, 2016 — 2017

Salvadoran bishops with Card. Ezzati.
#BlessedRomero #Beatification
During the 1982 anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar A. Romero, a slogan emerged which would resonate in many future commemorations of the martyr bishop: “We want more bishops like Archbishop Romero.” It was a popular veto of sorts against an episcopate perceived as too far removed from the style now promoted by Pope Francis: of “shepherds with the odor of sheep”—or, as the slogan put it, “who align themselves with the poor.” Quite a long time has passed since those days, and now many bishops seem to want to take up the style of the former Archbishop of San Salvador. We examine the praise that twelve of them gave to the martyred archbishop during the recent commemorations of the centenary of his birth.
First, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, issued a letter for the centenary of the birth of Archbishop Romero, in which he prays: “One hundred years have passed since the birth of Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, bishop and martyr, illustrious pastor and witness of the Gospel, determined defender of the Church and the dignity of man. Son of the beloved land of El Salvador, he spoke to the people of our time about the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ and his love for all, especially the poor and marginalized. In his priestly life as well as in the beginning of his episcopal ministry he experienced a unique spiritual path that led him to foster justice, reconciliation and peace.”
Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile and personal representative of the pope in the commemorations, added: “I dare say that Blessed Archbishop Romero is a martyr of Hope. He is this for the poorest of the Continent; he is this for our beloved Church; he is this for those who struggle for justice, reconciliation and peace—who, with renewed fondness, already call him ‘Saint Romero of the Americas’.”
For his part, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop Vienna, said that Archbishop Romero “belongs to these great figures who, without power and without weapons, have changed the world solely through their witness.”
The Archbishop of Bologna, Italy, Msgr. Matteo Zuppi, wrote in a letter that Romero's centenary “is an important opportunity to thank God for his testimony and to choose, based on his example, a renewed and passionate commitment to peace ...  His cherished memory encourages us and confirms us in the commitment to the Peace of Christ.”
Archbishop Giovanni Ricchiuti, president of Pax Christi of Italy, highlighted that Romero was a “courageous witness of the Gospel for Justice and Peace ... The spiritual heritage and the current relevance of the witness of Archbishop Romero spur the world community's commitment to building peace based on justice and peoples' rights.”
Others have tried to dissect the inspiration that motivated the martyr. In a mass for the centennial of Romero and the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, the Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas, Gustavo Garcia-Siller commented that “as we celebrate also the 100th birthday of Blessed Oscar Romero, late Archbishop of San Salvador, we celebrate the life of someone who followed this example of Mary.”
The Archbishop of Los Angeles, California, Jose Gomez, emphasized the need to advocate for the common good of the people as Romero did: “In Blessed Oscar’s name, let’s keep working — to build a better Los Angeles, a better America, and a better world ... Let’s keep pressing for immigration reform — to keep our families together, to give rights to our workers, and to open the way to make new citizens for this great land of ours.”
Romero’s friend, Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez of San Salvador, wished to recall other martyrs of El Salvador: “It is easy for us to apply this term when we speak of Archbishop Romero, of the murdered priests and of the four American women — three Religious and a secular missionary — whose lives were snatched in December 1980. However we have a debt that we must begin to pay as soon as possible: we are bound by gratitude to God and for the love of truth, to recover the memory of hundreds of anonymous martyrs, most of whom are humble peasant men and peasant women.”
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, postulator of the cause of canonization of Archbishop Romero, paused to reflect on his humanity. “Romero was not a Superman,” he said. “He was afraid of dying, and he confessed that to his friends on a number of occasions. But he loved Jesus and his flock more than he loved life. This is the meaning of martyrdom. Love for Jesus and for the poor is greater than love for oneself. This is the power of Romero's message.”
Panamanian Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa expressed a similar sentiment: “Before the giant figure of Oscar Arnulfo Romero, we cannot forget what he was: a human being who loved his people, that is to say, everyone. By vocation he was a priest, minister of Christ and servant of those entrusted to him, especially of the peasants and the needy. That is what he wanted to be, above everything else. Now we look forward with joy to the canonization of Archbishop Romero, who is a cause of inspiration for Christian commitment.”
The Bishop of Dallas, Texas, Edward Burns, explained his decision to have a Mass in honor of Romero. “When I went to El Salvador and found out that today was going to be his anniversary, I knew we had to do something, especially for the Latino community living here in Dallas,” said Burns, who assumed his office in February. “Oscar Romero was a great man of faith and a great faithful pastor of our Latin community,” said the bishop during his homily.
The Archbishop of San Juan de Cuyo, Argentina, Jorge Lozano, explained the admiration for Romero felt by many faithful, including himself: “such are the saints, factors of unity and communion even before the hatred of enemies,” he said, adding: “One wishes to imitate his surrender and his clarity. I caress and kiss his grave, his memory and his life.”
Other bishops did not make statements but did speak through their gestures. The Bishop of Astorga, Spain, José Antonio Menéndez, inaugurated a stained glass window with the figure of Blessed Romero in a church, while Bishop Joseph Toal of Scotland unveiled a canvas of Blessed Romero to mark his adoption as the patron saint of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).