Archbishop Romero: Symbol of church leaders’ efforts to protect flocks

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May 11, 2015

People carry large portraits of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero during a rally in late March in San Salvador to pay tribute to the late archbishop, who was assassinated 35 years ago. Archbishop Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23, has become a symbol of Latin American church leaders' efforts to protect their flocks from the abuses of military dictatorships. (CNS photo/Roberto Escobar, EPA) See BIO-ROMERO May 11, 2015.

People carry large portraits of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero during a rally in late March in San Salvador to pay tribute to the late archbishop, who was assassinated 35 years ago. Archbishop Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23, has become a symbol of Latin American church leaders’ efforts to protect their flocks from the abuses of military dictatorships. (CNS photo/Roberto Escobar, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23, has become a symbol of Latin American church leaders’ efforts to protect their flocks from the abuses of military dictatorships.

However, his life and the 35 years it took the Vatican to recognize him as a martyr also reflect decades of theological and pastoral discussion over the line dividing pastoral action from political activism under repressive regimes.

Archbishop Romero was assassinated March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in the chapel of Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador, the city he served as archbishop for three years.

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