The congregation that oversees canonization for the Catholic Church declared on Friday that Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was killed “in odium fidei”, a necessary requirement for beatification as a martyr, said Avvenire, the Italian daily associated with the Catholic Church.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted unanimously for the formal martyrdom of the archbishop of San Salvador, who was a vocal opponent of El Salvador’s military dictatorship and was assassinated by a sniper on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass.
The Latin American archbishop has been a candidate for beatification since 1997 but his case had been blocked by the Church over concerns that he had Marxist ideas. Pope Francis, an Argentinian and the first Latin American pope, lifted the ban on Romero’s beatification last August.
Beatification, which grants the title of “Blessed”, is the third of four steps in the canonization process.