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Pope Francis Declares Archbishop Oscar Romero a Martyr

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Alex Bowie/Getty Images(ROME) — In another sign of the shifting priorities of the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, the pope has declared the once shunned Archbishop Oscar Romero a martyr.

Romero was an outspoken critic of social injustice and part of the progressive liberation theology movement in Latin America in the ’70s that Pope John Paul II opposed because he believed it was too closely linked to communism.

The Salvadoran priest was shot to death while saying mass in 1980, likely by a member of a death squad linked to the right-wing government that brutally killed and tortured thousands in the late ’70s.

Despite a grassroots push to have him beatified — the first step toward sainthood — both Popes John Paul II and Benedict blocked the process.

By declaring him a martyr, Pope Francis has lifted the ban and Romero can now be beatified.


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