Martyr priest, now Saint Romero, challenged power in El Salvador


SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – In 1980, a day after urging El Salvador’s military to halt a string of abuses that would inflame a 12-year civil war in the impoverished country, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead while leading Mass.

A statue of the late Archbishop of San Salvador, Mons. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who will be declared saint by the Catholic Church on October 14, is seen at the Dolores church in Izalco, El Salvador, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

His homilies had blasted the U.S.-backed military dictatorship while voicing solidarity with the poor, making him a Latin American human rights icon.

On Sunday at the Vatican, he will become a Roman Catholic saint.

Romero was considered for canonization decades ago, but his nomination stalled on concerns that he was overly political.

His reputation rebounded in 2015, when Pope Francis, a fellow Latin American committed to defending the poor, declared him a martyr who had been killed for hatred of the faith.

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