Pope Francis has decreed that slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero was killed out of hatred for the faith, approving a martyrdom declaration that sets the stage for his beatification.
Francis approved the decree at a meeting Tuesday with the head of the Vatican’s saint-making office.
Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down by right-wing death squads in 1980 while celebrating Mass. He had spoken out against repression by the Salvadoran army at the beginning of the country’s 1980-1992 civil war between the right-wing government and leftist rebels.
His sainthood cause had been held up by the Vatican for years out of concern for his support for liberation theology. But Francis “unblocked” the cause soon after being elected.
Romero is a hero to many Catholics in Latin America.