Is Pope Francis Following St. Romero’s Strategy of Silence?


National Catholic Register, 19 October 2018

COMMENTARY: Like the new Latin-American saint, the Holy Father has chosen not to respond directly to harsh criticism.

Is Pope Francis taking a page from the St. Óscar Romero book — diary, to be specific — in how he handles the accusations made against him, particularly those made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former nuncio to the United States?

The recent canonization of Archbishop Romero — San Romero, as he is known in El Salvador — brought to publication a good deal of material on the life and message of the martyred archbishop. Notable among them is The Scandal of Redemption: When God Liberates the Poor, Saves Sinners and Heals Nations (Plough Publishing), a small but most useful book of selections from San Romero’s preaching, messages and diaries.

While much of that material may be new to English-language readers, San Romero’s principal writings and diaries have been well-known in Latin America for generations. And certainly they would be well-known by other Latin-American bishops.

Now, San Romero is widely celebrated with pride throughout Latin America, but it was not the case during his life and even after his death, when he faced serious opposition to his ministry as archbishop of San Salvador.

The diaries indicate the seriousness of the situation. Just a year after his taking office in San Salvador, San Romero faced the opposition of all but one of his brother bishops in El Salvador. As he became increasingly vocal in denouncing the oppression and violence directed at the campesinos, the poor peasants, the established elite of Salvadoran society became increasingly hostile toward him. And that included some at the higher levels of the Church in El Salvador.

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