Romero ‘Defamed’

Pope Francis had strong words on Oct. 30 for Catholic priests and bishops who “defamed” the assassinated archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero. Going off script during a meeting with 500 pilgrims from El Salvador, Pope Francis said, “The martyrdom of Archbishop Romero was not fulfilled at the moment of his death—it was a martyrdom of witness, of prior suffering and prior persecution, up to his death. But even afterward, following his death—I was a young priest and a witness to this—he was defamed, slandered, his memory despoiled and his martyrdom continued also by his brethren in the priesthood and in the episcopate.” The pope added: “Perhaps it is best to see it like this: a man who continues to be a martyr. After having given his life, he continues to give it by allowing himself to be assailed by all this misunderstanding and slander.” Pope Francis added: “This gives me strength. Only God knows the stories of those people who have given their lives, who have died, and continue to be stoned with the hardest stone that exists in the world: language.”

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