El Salvador delights at the Pope’s decree for Archbishop Romero

Pope Francis’ authorisation of a decree recognising that Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero was killed “in hatred of the faith” and the subsequent announcement that the murdered archbishop will be beatified later this year have been greeted with delight in El Salvador.

Msgr. Ricardo Urioste, who served as Archbishop Romero’s vicar general and is now president of the Romero Foundation, said, “We received the news with joy and gratitude to God”, adding that by recognising the archbishop’s martyrdom in 1980, Pope Francis had undermined politically-motivated allegations about Archbishop Romero.

“He was accused of doing politics, and even of being a guerrilla member,” said Msgr. Urioste, “but the truth always triumphs and today the truth prevailed as the pope decided to name him a martyr.”

There had been an outpouring of happiness in Ciudad Barrios, where Archbishop Romero was born in 1917, according to parish priest Father Gabriel Argueta. Describing how villagers were looking forward to receiving pilgrims to the martyred archbishop’s birthplace, he said, “Monsignor Romero is our shepherd and we give him proudly to the world.”

Although the date of the beatification has not yet been decided, Church officials in El Salvador believe the it should take place in El Salvador del Mundo Square.