AN INFLUENTIAL Rome-based Jesuit magazine has declared that Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was a martyr who was murdered for his Catholic faith alone.
La Civilta Cattolicà, which is reviewed by the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to publication, briefly commented on the archbishop’s sainthood cause in an article looking at books published to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.
La Civiltà Cattolica said that almost immediately after Archbishop Romero was murdered, people started comparing him to St Thomas Becket, the English archbishop martyred in 1170.
“Thomas Becket was killed for defending the legitimate rights of the church, which the king of England wanted to transform into an instrument of his own power, while Mgr Romero was killed for having defended – in the name of the faith – the rights of man, which the Church today proclaims as its ‘first and fundamental path,’” the magazine said. “Becket was murdered in the cathedral, the symbol of the greatness and majesty of God who men are called to adore. Romero was murdered in the chapel of a hospital, the visible sign of the presence of the Church at the side of those who suffer.” The Church has traditionally defined as martyrs only those who chose death rather than renounce their faith.