Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty Images
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis decreed Tuesday 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, the first Latin American pope, approved the decree honouring one of the heroes of Latin American Catholics at a meeting 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 at his perceived association with liberation theology, the Latin American-inspired Catholic theology advocating for the poor.
But Francis “unblocked” the cause soon after…