- Raised to the altars: one who fell for the poor
A champion of the poor or someone mixed up in politics? A man who died for the faith or because he was a political inconvenience? Archbishop Oscar Romero’s beatification today confirms his stature and illuminates his model of holiness
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El Salvadorean President Mauricio Funes has announced that the country’s main international airport is to be renamed after Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered by a military death squad in 1980.
Mr Funes also praised Romero, the former archbishop of San Salvador, as “the most faithful and palpable representation of the relentless fight for the rights of the most vulnerable, unprotected and those who have no voice”.
Mr Funes said he would change the law to rename the airport “Aeropuerto Internacional Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero". The Hall of Honour in the Presidential Mansion will also be named after him.
The archbishop, an outspoken critic of the junta’s human rights abuses, was shot dead he celebrated Mass on 24 March 1980 as the Central American state descended into civil war.
Speaking on 16 January – the twenty-second anniversary of the signing of peace accords to end the conflict – Funes said he expects the changes to be ratified before the completion of his five-year presidency this year.
When Funes came to power on 1 June 2009, he stated Romero was the spiritual guide of the nation, which was still deeply divided over Romero.
Julian Filochowski, a former director of the Catholic charity Cafod, told Independent Catholic News earlier this month that Romero’s cause would be fast-tracked by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints so he could be beatified by the centenary of his birth in 2017.