Óscar RomeroÓscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) was a prelate of the Catholic Church in El Salvador who served as the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture amid a growing war between left-wing and right-wing forces. In 1980, Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence. Though no one was ever convicted for the crime, investigations by the UN-created Truth Commission for El Salvador concluded that the extreme right-wing politician, founder of ARENA and the U.S.-backed death squad leader Roberto D'Aubuisson had given the order.
During Romero's beatification, Pope Francis stated, "His ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalized." Hailed as a hero by supporters of liberation theology inspired by his work, Romero, according to his biographer, "was not interested in liberation theology" but faithfully adhered to Catholic teachings on liberation and a preferential option for the poor, desiring a social revolution based on interior reform. Up to the end of his life, his spiritual life drew much from the spirituality of Opus Dei. While seen as a social conservative at his appointment as archbishop in 1977, he was deeply affected by the murder of his friend and fellow priest Rutilio Grande a few weeks after his own appointment and subsequently developed into an outspoken social activist.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 March as the "International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims" in recognition of the role of Romero in defence of human rights. Romero actively denounced violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable people and defended the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposing all forms of violence.
In 1997, Pope John Paul II bestowed upon Romero the title of Servant of God, and a cause for beatification and canonization was opened for him. The cause stalled, but was reopened by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. He was declared a martyr by Pope Francis on 3 February 2015, paving the way for his beatification on 23 May 2015. Pope Francis canonized Romero as a saint on 14 October 2018.
One of Romero's successors, the incumbent Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Salvador, El Salvador, Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas, has asked Pope Francis to proclaim Romero a Doctor of the Church, which is an acknowledgement from the church that his religious teachings were orthodox and had a significant impact on its philosophy and theology.
Latin American church groups often proclaim Romero an unofficial patron saint of the Americas and El Salvador; Catholics in El Salvador often refer to him as ''"San Romero"'', as well as ''"Monseñor Romero"''. Outside of Catholicism, Romero is honored by other Christian denominations including Church of England and Anglican Communion through the Calendar in Common Worship, as well as in at least one Lutheran liturgical calendar. Romero is also one of the ten 20th-century martyrs depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London. Provided by Wikipedia
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