Friday, February 17, 2017

Romero speaks - more clearly than ever



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#BlessedRomero #Beatification
Shortly after Oscar Romero’s beatification in 2015, I wrote with enthusiasm about a new book series of Romero’s sermons, A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to His People: The Complete Homilies of Oscar Arnulfo Romero.  Back then, when Vol. 1 had just come out, I was excited at the promise of fresh, crisper, more natural sounding translations of Romero’s sermons which could make Romero more accessible by presenting him in greater clarity than had theretofore been achieved.  Now that all six volumes are out, I can say confidently that the promise has been fulfilled and that this is the perfect collection to add to seminary and theological college library collections—and just in time for the Romero centennial.
Fr. Joseph V. Owens, SJ, edited by Rafael Luciani, Felix Palazzi, and Julian Filochowski.  Convivium Press; 1st edition (2015-2017).  Paperbacks.
This is Romero remastered!  Just as sound recordings made on old analog machines, with hiss and muffled sound, preserved on electromagnetic tapes that developed cracks and static over the years, need to be cleaned up and made sharper and crisper for the digital age, so too do translations.  The process through which Romero’s homilies were preserved is itself quite the yarn, with twists and turns which created technical and interpretative inconsistencies in the process, which Owens and the team has sought to remove.  Romero’s sermons were preserved almost by happenstance.  Originally, Romero had his sermons recorded in order to rebroadcast them on the diocesan radio station.  But the recording, at the Cathedral, was primitive.  It was done on a portable cassette tape recorder.  Someone had to manually turn the tape over when it ran out.  Sometimes, there were gaps between tapes.
The next step was to transcribe the sermons, which Romero began to do in order to reprint the texts in the diocesan weekly.  Most of the transcription was done by Maria Julia Hernandez, a young lawyer in Romero’s legal aid office, and she was very diligent in transcribing the recordings.  Additionally, she was close to Romero’s ministry, so she was good at deciphering things that were not clear—she knew what he was talking about; she knew the words he might use, what he might have said.  Sometimes others pitched in, but they were not as familiar so they might not be as good at picking up everything.  And so the quality of the Spanish language transcriptions varied.  Add to that variations in quality of translations to English and, before you know it, there are clicks and pops in the translation just like in an old analog tape.
Some of the errors that have been caught and corrected are major and significant.  For example, when Romero was killed on March 24, 1980, the quality of the sound recording made is particularly bad: barely intelligible in Spanish.  So, it is perhaps understandable that when Romero said “la Hostia de trigo” (the wheaten Host) the transcriber heard “la voz de diatribo” (the voice of diatribe!), and so for years, English language readers saw translations that had Romero jarringly proclaim that “at this moment the voice of diatribe is changed for the body of the Lord.”  Were Romero’s dying words a defiant declaration that violent speech (perhaps a call to insurrection) were a new progressive sacrament of sorts?  Or was he saying that we must put aside violent subversion and seek Eucharistic peace?  People were either excited or appalled—depending on their political views and their interpretation.  But regardless, their reaction was based on a major error and the translation was actually nonsensical.
Much more often, the improvements made are much more subtle, but their overall, cumulative effect is a greater fidelity to Romero, and an enhanced sense of immediacy to Romero’s message—and to Romero himself.  Salvadorans experienced Romero in a very intimate and spontaneous way.  His Sunday sermons were a little like FDR’s fireside chats—he spoke directly to the people, he was candid and natural.  Romero used colorful language, like Pope Francis, famously repeating folk wisdom, like saying that justice is like a snake in that it only bites the barefooted.  Capturing those flavors and notes of authenticity in a translation requires an attention to detail that sometimes comes for the first time forty years after the fact.
In a recent post, I noted that Romero’s preaching has led an upcoming university conference to propose that he should be declared a Doctor of the Church.  A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to His People is an invaluable tool to understanding the magisterial legacy of the Salvadoran martyr.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Romero, Doctor of the Church?


#BlessedRomero #Beatification

The Latin American/North American Church Concerns office (LANACC) has announced the themes for the annual Romero Days conference at Notre Dame University in Indiana, which will begin with a Mass presided by Card. Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines, on Friday, March 24, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Salvadoran Archbishop. During the annual conference being organized for the 30th year running, Fr. Robert Pelton will present an audacious thesis: that Romero should be named a “Doctor of the Church”.

Among the multitudinous number of the saints recognized throughout the millennia, there are only thirty-six who have been distinguished with the high honorific “Doctor of the Church,” which is usually reserved for the most eminent of the saints. There are three formal requirements. First, eminens doctrina (eminent learning). The candidate must demonstrate a depth of doctrinal insight. Normally, this is expressed by an extensive body of writings that reflect the authentic and vivifying Catholic Tradition. Second, insignis vitae sanctitas (a high degree of holiness). This implies a truly outstanding holiness, even among the saints. Third, Ecclesiae declaratio (the proclamation of the Church). The declaration would be made—after rigorous study is made on the subject—by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the same entity that declared Romero a blessed and a martyr, and is eventually expected to proclaim him a saint. These processes take decades to reach a doctoral proclamation, which often comes centuries after the canonizations of the saints involved in each process.

To understand the requirements, it is helpful to list some of the saints who have been recognized as doctors of the church: St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, considered the most famous theologians in Christianity, and several of the so-called “Fathers of the Church”—the Saints who founded the ancient and legendary communities in the east and the west. It is also useful to examine the characteristics of a recently recognized “Doctor”, such as St. John of Avila, the Spanish mystic recognized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. In the approval of his process, it was held to be important that contemporaries, including popes, called him “master”; that he was a theologian, an inventor and humanist; that he authored a learned treatise; that he was a friend of several prominent saints and played a leading role in the development of a systematic doctrine on the priesthood.

Would the Salvadoran martyr live up to these requirements? A “yes” answer begins to take shape at the same University of Notre Dame, where, as we mentioned at the beginning of this note, lectures on Romero have been presented for thirty years. “Can you tell me anywhere else in the world where people are studying the homilies of a bishop who’s been dead for 25 years?asked Monsignor Ricardo Urioste at Notre Dame in 2005. Some of the outstanding presenters at the conferences have included Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, who in his 2002 address proposed Romero as “A Bishop for the Third Millennium,” and Cardinal Peter Turkson, who in his 2011 address correlated Romero with the parable of “Good Shepherd,” as well as numerous Romero scholars.

These scholars have written not only about Romero’s martyrdom, but also his thinking and preaching: they have studied his homilies and other writings, which have been published in multiple volumes, and have been translated into several languages. So much so that during the Romero’s beatification, Cardinal Angelo Amato did not hesitate to call hima wise bishop,” while, in a White House statement that same day, President Obama called him “a wise pastor.” Pope Francis, in his message for the occasion, also presented Romero as a wise man: he acted “with knowledge and prudence,” the Pontiff said. For Cardinal Amato, Romero was a prophet “like Abraham,” while the pope said that Romero was “like Moses.” It should be noted that his figure has been defended by three consecutive popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis, and already in life Romero had received honorary doctorates from the universities of Georgetown and Leuven.

Despite a high reputation as “a wise man”, there remains one problem: that Romero was not an academic. But that did not prevent him from having a great impact on theology, argues Professor Michael Lee, of Fordham University, one of those scholars who has presented at “Romero Days.” In a note in the Salvadoran press, Lee explains how Romero, despite the fact that he “did not hold a doctorate degree, had no appointment at a university, and never published a book or an academic article” he still “left a rich theological legacy.” According to Lee, in Romero's case, “his preaching and ministry served, as Martin Maier [a German Jesuit writing on Romero] has shown, as theological inspiration.”

Therefore, in his speech in which he will propose Romero as Doctor of the Church, Fr Pelton speaks of Romero as a “Pastoral Doctor of the Universal Church.” St. Ambrose of Milan, who lived in the fourth century, was the first bishop to be recognized as a pastoral doctor. In this regard, it is interesting to note the comment of Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, postulator of the cause, that Romero is the “first martyr of the Second Vatican Council.” According to Paglia, “the martyrdom of Monsignor Romero is the fulfillment of a faith lived in its fullness; a faith that emerges strongly from the texts of the Second Vatican Council.”  For Paglia, Romero is

the first witness of a Church that commingles with the history of a people with whom he lives the hope of the Kingdom ... among the first in the world who tried to translate the Council’s teachings to the concrete history of the continent, having the courage to make a preferential option for the poor, and to give witness, in a reality marked by deep inequalities, to the path of dialogue and peace.

The idea of ​​a “pastoral doctor” takes on a larger importance after the pontificate of Pope Francis, who makes the idea of ​​a pastoral church the quintessence of the Council. In fact, perhaps the strongest impediment facing Romero's candidacy for doctor is of a liturgical order, relating to tradition and customs. No martyr has ever been included in the list of doctors, because the Office (the prayers for the liturgical feast) and the Mass are for Confessors (saints canonized for their virtues and not for martyrdom). Therefore, Benedict XIV (pope bet. 1740-1758), the author of a classic work on the processes of canonization, states that St. Ignatius, St. Irenaeus and St. Cyprian are not Doctors of the Church for this reason.

If Romero were to be recognized as a doctor of the church, it would be historic: he would become the first Latin American doctor. In a sense, this favors him: one can wonder, who, if not Romero, should be the first doctor from the Americas? It brings to mind the words of Gustavo Gutierrez, the “Father of liberation theology,” who once said that “the history of the Church in Latin America is divided into before and after Archbishop Romero.”

Many hope Romero will be canonized this year. Others have even greater ambitions.

Romero, ¿Doctor de la Iglesia?


#BeatoRomero #Beatificación

La oficina de intereses de la iglesia latinoamericana y norteamericana (LANACC, por sus siglas en inglés) ha anunciado los temas para la conferencia anual “Romero Days” en la Universidad de Notre Dame en Indiana, EE.UU, que iniciará con una misa presidida por el Card. Luis Antonio Tagle, Arzobispo de Manila, Filipinas el viernes 24 de marzo, el aniversario del martirio del arzobispo salvadoreño.  Durante la conferencia anual que se organiza desde hace 30 años, el P. Robert Pelton lanzará una propuesta atrevida: nombrar a Romero “Doctor de la Iglesia”. 

Entre el multitudinario elenco de los santos reconocidosa través de los milenios, solo hay treinta y seis que han sido destacados con el alto honorífico “Doctor de la Iglesia”, usualmente reservado para los maestros más eminentes entre los santos.  Hay tres requisitos formales. Primero, eminens doctrina (conocimiento eminente).  El candidato debe manifestar profundidad de penetración doctrinal.  Normalmente, esto viene plasmado sobre un extenso cuerpo de escritos que expresan la Tradición Católica auténtica y vivificante.  Segundo, insignis vitae sanctitas (un alto grado de santidad). Esto implica una santidad verdaderamente sobresaliente, aun entre los santos.  Tercero, Ecclesiae declaratio (la proclamación de la Iglesia).  La cosa viene declarada por la Congregación para las Causas de los Santos, la misma que declaró a Romero beato y mártir, y eventualmente se espera que lo proclamará santo—siempre y cuando se haya hecho un estudio rigoroso sobre el tema.  Los procesos duran décadas para llegar a una declaración doctoral, muchas veces siglos después de las canonizaciones de los santos implicados en cada proceso.

Para entender los requisitos, sirve numerar algunos de los santos que han sido reconocidos como doctores de la iglesia: San Agustín y Santo Tomás Aquino, considerados los teólogos más famosos en el cristianismo, y varios de los llamados “Padres de la Iglesia”—los santos que fundaron las antiguas y leyendarias comunidades en el oriente y el occidente.  Así también es útil examinar las características de un “Doctor” recientemente reconocido, como es San Juan de Ávila, el místico español reconocido como “doctor” por el Papa Benedicto XVI en el 2012.  En la aprobación de su proceso, destacaron datos como el hecho de que algunos contemporáneos, entre ellos papas, lo llamaban “maestro”; que fue teólogo, inventor y humanista; que escribió un erudito tratado; que fue amigo de varios santos prominentes y que jugó un papel protagónico en el desarrollo de una doctrina sistemática sobre el sacerdocio.

¿Estaría el mártir salvadoreño a la altura de tales requisitos?  La respuesta de “sí” empieza en la misma Universidad de Notre Dame, donde, como mencionábamos al principio de esta nota, se han presentado conferencias sobre Romero por treinta años.  ¿Puede decirme otro lugar en el mundo donde se están estudiando las homilías de un obispo que ha estado muerto por 25 años?,” preguntó Mons. Ricardo Urioste, en Notre Dame en el 2005.  Entre los presentadores en las conferencias han destacado el Cardenal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, quien, en su discurso del 2002 propuso a Romero como “Un Obispo Para el Tercer Milenio”, y el Cardenal Peter Turkson, quien, en su discurso del 2011, correlacionó a Romero y la parábola del “Buen Pastor”, y un sin número de estudiosos de Romero.

Dichos estudiosos han escrito no solo del martirio de Romero, sino también sobre su pensamiento y predicación: han estudiado sus homilías y otros escritos, los cuales han sido publicados en múltiples volúmenes, y han sido traducidos a varios idiomas.  Tanto así que durante la beatificación de Romero, el Cardenal Angelo Amato no dudó en llamarloun obispo sabio”, mientras que, en un comunicado de la Casa Blanca de ese mismo día, el Presidente Obama lo llamaba “un pastor sabio”.  El Papa Francisco, en su mensaje para la ocasión, también presentó a Romero como un sabio: actuó “con ciencia y prudencia”, dijo el pontífice.  Para el Cardenal Amato, Romero fue un profeta “como Abraham”, mientras que el papa dijo que Romero fue “como Moisés”.  Cabe mentar que su figura ha sido defendida por tres papas consecutivos: Juan Pablo II, Benedicto XVI y ahora el Papa Francisco, y ya en vida Romero había recibido doctorados “honoris causa” de las universidades de Georgetown y Lovaina.

A pesar de una alta reputación como “un sabio”, queda un problema: que Romero no fue un académico.  Pero por eso no deja de tener un gran impacto sobre la teología, argumenta el Prof. Michael Lee, de la Universidad de Fordham, uno de esos estudiosos que ha presentado en “Romero Days”. En una nota en la prensa salvadoreña, Lee explica como Romero, a pesar de que “no ostentaba un título de doctorado, no tenía nombramiento en una universidad, y nunca publicó un libro o un artículo académico” aun así “dejó un rico legado teológico”.  Según Lee, en el caso de Romero, “su predicación y ministerio sirvieron, como ha demostrado Martin Maier [un jesuita alemán que escribe sobre Romero], de inspiración teológica”.

Por eso, en su ponencia en la que propondrá a Romero como Doctor de la Iglesia, el P. Pelton habla de Romero como un “Doctor Pastoral de la Iglesia Universal”.  San Ambrosio de Milán, que vivió en el siglo IV, fue el primer obispo en ser reconocido como doctor pastoral.  Es interesante en este sentido el comentario de Mons. Vicenzo Paglia, postulador de la causa, de que Romero es el “primer mártir del Concilio Vaticano II”.  Según Paglia, “el martirio de Monseñor Romero es el cumplimiento de una fe vivida en su plenitud; una fe que emerge con fuerza en los textos del Concilio Vaticano II”.  Para Paglia, Romero es

el primer testimonio de una Iglesia que se mezcla con la historia de un pueblo con el que vive la esperanza del Reino … entre los primeros en el mundo que trató de traducir las enseñanzas conciliares sobre la historia concreta del continente, teniendo el valor de tomar una opción preferencial por los pobres, y de dar testimonio, en una realidad marcada por profundas desigualdades, a la vía del diálogo y la paz.

La idea de un “doctor pastoral” cobra importancia tras el pontificado del Papa Francisco, que hace como una síntesis del Concilio en la idea de una iglesia pastoral.  De hecho, quizá el impedimento más fuerte que afronte la candidatura de Romero para doctor sea de tipo litúrgico, o sea de tradición y costumbres.  Ningún mártir ha sido incluido en la lista, de doctores, ya que el Oficio (las oraciones para la fiesta litúrgica) y la Misa son para Confesores (santos canonizados por sus virtudes y no por un martirio). Por lo tanto, Benedicto XIV (papa 1740-1758), autor de una obra clásica sobre los procesos de canonización, comenta que San Ignacio, San Ireneo y San Cipriano no son Doctores de la Iglesia por esa razón.

Si Romero llegase a ser reconocido como doctor de la iglesia, sería un hecho histórico: llegaría a ser el primer doctor latinoamericano.  En ese sentido, este dato lo favorece: uno puede preguntarse, ¿quién, si no Romero, debería ser el primero desde las américas?  Hace pensar de las palabras de Gustavo Gutiérrez, el “Padre de la teología de la liberación”, quien dijo que “la historia de la Iglesia en América Latina se divide en antes y después de Monseñor Romero”.

Muchos esperan que Romero sea canonizado este año.  Otros tienen esperanzas aún más grandes.

Romero, Dottore della Chiesa?


#BeatoRomero #Beatificazione

L’ufficio d’interessi Latino-Americana e del Nord America della chiesa (LANACC, per il suo acronimo in inglese) ha annunciato i temi per la conferenza annuale “Romero Days” presso l’Università di Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, che inizierà con una Messa presieduta dal card. Luis Antonio Tagle, arcivescovo di Manila, Filippine il Venerdì, 24 marzo, il anniversario del martirio dell’arcivescovo salvadoregno. Durante la conferenza annuale organizzata da 30 anni, IL padre Robert Pelton lancerà una proposta audace: nominare Romero “Dottore della Chiesa”.

Tra il moltitudine elenco dei santi riconosciuti attraverso i millenni, ci sono solo trentasei che sono stati scelti per il più alto onore “Dottore della Chiesa”, solitamente riservato per i più eminenti maestri tra i santi. Ci sono tre requisiti formali. In primo luogo, eminens doctrina (conoscenza eminente). Il candidato deve manifestare profondità di penetrazione dottrinale. Normalmente, questo si riflette su un ampio corpus di scritti che esprimono l’autentica e vivificante Tradizione cattolica. In secondo luogo, insignis vitae sanctitas (un alto grado di santità). Ciò implica una santità veramente eccezionale, anche tra i santi. In terzo luogo, Ecclesiae declaratio (l’annuncio della Chiesa). La cosa è dichiarata—dopo uno studio rigoroso—dalla Congregazione per le Cause dei Santi, la stessa che ha proclamato Romero beato e martire, e, infine, si prevede di annunciare che sarà santo. I processi durano decenni per raggiungere una dichiarazione di dottorato, spesso secoli dopo la canonizzazione dei santi coinvolte in ciascun processo.

Per comprendere i requisiti, serve esaminare alcuni dei santi che sono state riconosciuti come Dottori della Chiesa: S. Agostino e S. Tommaso d’Aquino, considerati i più famosi teologi nel Cristianesimo, e vari cosiddetti “Padri della Chiesa”—i santi che hanno fondato le antiche e leggendari comunità a est e ovest. Per questo è utile anche esaminare le caratteristiche di un “dottore” recentemente riconosciuto, come San Juan de Avila, il mistico spagnolo onorato come “dottore” da Papa Benedetto XVI nel 2012. Nel processo di approvazione, hanno diventato dati importanti che alcuni contemporanei, tra cui alcuni papi, lo chiamavano “maestro”; che era teologo, inventore e umanista; che ha scritto un trattato dotto; che era amico di alcuni santi importanti e ha svolto un ruolo di primo piano nello sviluppo di una dottrina sistematica sul sacerdozio.

Sarebbe il martire salvadoregno in grado di soddisfare questi requisiti? La risposta “sì” inizia presso la stessa Università di Notre Dame, dove, come detto all’inizio di questa nota, ci sono state conferenze su Romero per trent’anni. “Puoi dirmi un altro posto al mondo dove si stanno studiando le omelie di un vescovo che è morto da 25 anni?”, ha chiesto Mons. Ricardo Urioste, a Notre Dame nel 2005. Tra i relatori al convegno si distinguono il cardinale Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, che nel suo discorso del 2002 ha proposto Romero come “un Vescovo per il terzo millennio”, e il cardinale Peter Turkson, che, nel suo discorso del 2011, ha Romero correlato alla e la parabola del “Buon Pastore” e numerosi studiosi Romero.

Questi studiosi hanno scritto non solo del martirio di Romero, ma anche sul suo pensiero e la sua predicazione; hanno studiato le sue omelie e altri scritti, che sono state pubblicate in vari volumi, e sono stati tradotti in diverse lingue. Tanto così che durante la beatificazione di Romero, il cardinale Angelo Amato non ha esitato a chiamarloun vescovo saggio”, mentre, in una dichiarazione dalla Casa Bianca, quello stesso giorno, il presidente Obama lo ha definito “un pastore saggio”. Papa Francesco, nel suo messaggio per l’occasione, ha anche introdotto Romero come un uomo saggio che ha agito “con scienza e prudenza”, ha detto il pontefice. Per il Cardinale Amato, Romero era un profeta “come Abramo”, mentre il papa ha detto Romero era “come Mosè”. Romero è stato anche difeso da tre papi consecutivi: Giovanni Paolo II, Benedetto XVI e ora Papa Francisco, e nella vita Romero aveva ricevuto dottorati “honoris causa” dalle università di Georgetown e Lovanio.

Nonostante una grande reputazione come un “saggio”, c’èun problema perché Romero non era un accademico. Ma questo non significa che non ha avuto un grande impatto sulla teologia, sostiene il Prof. Michael Lee, di Fordham University, uno di quegli studiosi che hanno presentato a “Romero Days”. In una nota nella stampa salvadoregna, Lee spiega come Romero, anche se “non era in possesso di un dottorato di ricerca, non aveva appuntamento in una università, e mai pubblicato un libro o un articolo scientifico” ancora ha “lasciato una ricca eredità teologica”. Secondo Lee, nel caso di Romero, “la sua predicazione e il suo ministero hanno serviti, come dimostrato da Martin Maier [un gesuita tedesco che scrive su Romero], d’ispirazione teologica”.

Pertanto, nel suo discorso che proporrà Romero come Dottore della Chiesa, il Padre Pelton Romero parla di un “Dottore pastorale della Chiesa universale”. S. Ambrogio di Milano, che ha vissuto nel IV secolo, fu il primo vescovo ad essere riconosciuto come dottore pastorale. È interessante a questo proposito il commento di Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, postulatore della causa, che Romero è il “primo martire del Concilio Vaticano II”. Secondo Paglia, “il martirio di monsignor Romero è il compimento di una fede vissuta nella sua pienezza; quella fede che emerge con forza nei testi del Concilio Vaticano II”. Per Paglia, Romero è

il primo testimone di una Chiesa che si mescola con la storia del popolo con il quale vivere la speranza del Regno ... tra le prime nel mondo [che] ha cercato di tradurre gli insegnamenti conciliari nella storia concreta del Continente, avendo il coraggio di formulare l’opzione preferenziale per i poveri e di testimoniare, in una realtà segnata da profonde ingiustizie, la via del dialogo e della pace.

L’idea di un “dottore pastorale” diventa importante dopo il pontificato di Papa Francesco, che fa una sintesi del Consiglio sull’idea di una chiesa pastorale. In realtà, forse l’impedimento più forte che affronta la candidatura di Romero per dottore può essere di tipo liturgico—cioè di tradizione e costumi. Nessun martire è stato incluso nella lista dei dottori, dal momento che l’Ufficio (preghiere per la festa) e la Messa sono per i Confessori (santi canonizzati da sue virtù e non per il martirio). Pertanto, Benedetto XIV (Papa DAL 1740-1758), autore di un classico tomo sui processi di canonizzazione, spiega che SS. Ignazio, Ireneo e Cipriano non sono Dottori della Chiesa per questo motivo.

Se Romero fosse venuto riconosciuto come un dottore della chiesa, sarebbe un fatto storico: sarebbe diventato il primo dottore latino-americano. In questo senso, questo dato lo favorisce: chi oltre a Romero, dovrebbe essere il primo dalle Americhe? Viene da pensare alle parole di Gustavo Gutierrez, il “padre della teologia della liberazione”, che ha detto che “la storia della Chiesa in America Latina è divisa in prima e dopo monsignor Romero”.

Molti sperano che Romero venga canonizzato quest’anno. Altri hanno ancora più grandi speranze.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Video for the Romero Centennial


#BlessedRomero #Beatification

Please share this video from the Romero Trust in London which briefly explains (in 4 mins.) the importance and significance of Blessed Oscar Romero.

Julian Filochowski, Chairman of the Trust, suggests “recommending it as a free gift—people can use it gratis without seeking any permission—especially because it can be used for educational purposes, particularly in school settings where the attention span is very short these days!

It is a video worthy of forwarding, sharing and, if possible, making go viral on this jubilee year of the Romero Centennial 1917-2017.

Video para el Centenario Romero


#BeatoRomero #Beatificación

Favor de compartir este video de la Romero Trust en Londres que explica en breve (4 mins.) la importancia y trascendencia del Beato Óscar Romero.

Julian Filochowski, director de la Trust, aconseja “recomendarlo como un regalo gratis—la gente puede usarlo gratis sin tener que pedir permiso—especialmente ya que puede ser utilizado con fines educativos, particularmente en entornos escolares ¡donde la atención es muy corta en estos días!

Es un video digno de reenviar, compartir, y si es posible hacer viral en este año jubilar del Centenario Romero 1917-2017.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

2017 prediction: Romero canonization


#BlessedRomero #Beatification

Ahead of 2015, the pieces had so come together for Archbishop Romero’s beatification that I was not only able to correctly predict that it would happen that year, but also the time when the announcement would come.  A short two years later, the stars appear to be aligned again such that I can try my hand at prognostication with respect to his canonization—the final step in the saint-making process.  Specifically, my prediction is that Romero’s canonization will be announced this year.  A second, more qualified prediction, is that Romero’s canonization will actually take place this year.  It may happen, but it is less certain.  Let me explain.
First, let me set the scenery.  2017 marks the centennial of Romero’s birth, so people will be talking about Romero and calls for his canonization will be a natural part of that discussion.  More importantly, a presumptive miracle has been reported and is being investigated by church authorities, with the early word being that it looks likely to be approved.  That has set San Salvador abuzz with speculation that a canonization announcement is imminent, with supporters sounding as confident as they did at the beginning of 2015 when Romero was beatified.

Msgr. Rafael Urrutia, vice-postulator of the cause, tweeted a picture of Romero on New Year’s Eve with the caption “May we celebrate his canonization in 2017.”  San Salvador Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez went a step further, predicting on January 2nd that the Salvadoran Church would receive a definitive status update on the cause from Pope Francis himself when the Salvadoran bishops make their “ad limina” visit to the Pontiff in March.  The date of their visit will even be March 24, the anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom, which is also his feast day.  Obviously, the confidence expressed by the men best positioned to know the precise status of the cause is a primary indicator for the rest of us.

Three critical markers throughout the year will be: March 24, for the reasons stated by Bishop Rosa; May 9 – 12, when the Latin American bishops hold their general assembly in San Salvador to honor Romero; and August 15, the 100th anniversary of Romero’s birth.

The March “ad limina” visit is worth watching closely, no doubt.  The last “ad limina” visit by the Salvadoran bishops, with Pope Benedict XVI in February 2008, generated Romero-related headlines when Benedict told the bishops that, in El Salvador, the gospel had been “preached fervently by Pastors full of love for God such as Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero.”  The references will undoubtedly be more emphatic during this visit with a pope widely seen as a kindred spirit of Romero, on a date so closely associated with Romero, on his centennial year. 

But it seems unlikely that the miracle investigation would be wrapped up by then, such that the pope would be in a position to make a definitive canonization announcement to the Salvadoran bishops.  Take, for instance, the Mother Teresa miracle approval, for comparison.  Mother Teresa received, no one would dispute, the fast track treatment, starting with the waiver of the five year hold after her death, right through the desire to have her canonization take place during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  Nevertheless, in Mother Teresa’s case, it took six months from the opening of the diocesan inquiry on the miracle for her canonization in June 2015 through the promulgation of the decree approving the miracle in December 2015.  A similar trajectory would seem to be Blessed Romero’s best-case scenario.

For that reason, a definitive announcement would appear unlikely to be ready either in March or even in May, when the Latin American bishops descend upon San Salvador for their meeting.  There had been some speculation that Francis could make a hastily announced visit to the meeting, to mark the ten-year anniversary of an earlier meeting at Aparecida, Brazil, presided by Pope Francis, and to canonize Romero in San Salvador.  But that’s impossible given the announced papal agenda for the year, which has the Pope visiting Portugal May 9 – 12; those dates are pretty much set in stone, because they correspond to another important centennial, the Marian apparitions at Fatima.  So, March or May both seem unrealistic.

Which leaves us with August 2017.  That date seems workable.  It would provide enough time, using the Mother Teresa “fast track” model, to have the miracle certified, so that an announcement could be made by the date of Romero’s centenary (August 15).  Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator of the cause, is scheduled to give a talk on Romero in London on August 12—it will be interesting to see what he says.  Then, the canonization could happen at the end of the year—perhaps in Rome at the papal mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe?—or in El Salvador next year.

Accordingly, for these reasons, the most likely scenario seems to me to be that we will hear grand, lofty praises for Romero in March and May, and perhaps prefatory announcements—but no final decision regarding his canonization until August. (Prediction #1.)  Of course, I could be happily wrong, and we may hear an announcement in March or May and, in that case, the ceremony could conceivably take place on or around the actual centenary. (Prediction #2.)  And, the Pope is also free to waive the miracle requirement, though I do not think that is likely, but if he does then all bets are off and we could see things move quite dramatically.

In any case, 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for the Salvadoran martyr and for his companion, Rutilio Grande who was killed three years earlier, and whose beatification is likely to be approved this year, probably in tandem with Romero’s cause.

Predicción 2017: canonización Romero



#BeatoRomero #Beatificación

Antes de 2015, las cosas se habían coalescido tanto para la beatificación de Monseñor Romero, que no sólo podía pronosticar correctamente que iba a ocurrir ese año, sino también el momento en que vendría el anuncio. Solo dos años más tarde, las estrellas parecen estar de nuevo alineadas para probar mi mano de nuevo en la predicción sobre su canonización—el último paso en el proceso de santificación. Específicamente, predigo que la canonización de Mons. Romero será anunciada este año. Una segunda predicción, más calificada, es que la canonización de Romero se llevará a cabo este año. Puede ser así, pero está menos seguro de que se va a dar. Déjenme explicar.
[Ver también: 2016, el Año de Romero]
Primero, déjeme describir el paisaje. 2017 marca el centenario del nacimiento de Romero, por lo que la gente hablará de Romero y los llamados por su canonización serán parte natural de esa discusión. Más importante aún, un presunto milagro ha sido reportado y está siendo investigado por las autoridades de la iglesia, con la palabra preliminar que probablemente será aprobado. Eso ha desatado una gran especulación en San Salvador de que un anuncio de la canonización está inminente, y los seguidores de Romero hoy se oyen tan seguros como se oían a principios de 2015, cuando Romero fue beatificado.

Mons. Rafael Urrutia, vice-postulador de la causa, twitteó una foto de Romero en Nochevieja con el título “Que en el 2017 podamos celebrar su canonización”. El obispo auxiliar de San Salvador Mons. Gregorio Rosa Chávez dio un paso más allá, prediciendo el 2 de enero que la Iglesia salvadoreña recibiría una actualización definitiva sobre la causa de parte del mismo Papa Francisco cuando los obispos salvadoreños hagan su visita “ad limina” al Pontífice en marzo. La fecha de la visita será incluso el 24 de marzo, aniversario del martirio de Romero, que es también su fiesta litúrgica. Obviamente, la confianza expresada por los hombres mejor posicionados para saber el estado preciso de la causa es un indicador primario para el resto de nosotros.

Tres puntos críticos a lo largo del año serán: el 24 de marzo, por las razones expuestas por Monseñor Rosa; del 9 al 12 de mayo, cuando los obispos latinoamericanos celebren su asamblea general en San Salvador para honrar a Romero; y el 15 de agosto, el centenario del natalicio de Romero.

Sin duda, a la visita “ad limina” en marzo vale la pena prestarle su debida atención. La última visita “ad limina” de los obispos salvadoreños, con el Papa Benedicto XVI en febrero de 2008, generó titulares con relación a Romero cuando Benedicto dijo a los obispos que en El Salvador el evangelio había sido “predicado con fervor por pastores llenos de amor de Dios, como Mons. Óscar Arnulfo Romero”. Las referencias serán sin duda más enfáticas durante esta visita con un Papa ampliamente visto como un espíritu afín de Romero, en una fecha tan estrechamente asociada con Romero, en el aiño de su centenario.

Pero parece improbable que la investigación sobre el milagro se terminara para entonces, de tal manera que el Papa pudiera estar en condiciones de hacer un anuncio definitivo sobre la canonización a los obispos. Tomemos, por ejemplo, la aprobación del milagro de la Madre Teresa, para hacer una comparación. Madre Teresa recibió, nadie disputaría, el trato rápido, comenzando con la exención del habitual plazo de espera de cinco años después de su muerte, llegando al deseo de que su canonización se diera durante el Año Jubilar de la Misericordia. Aún así, en el caso de la Madre Teresa, se necesitaron seis meses desde la apertura de la investigación diocesana sobre el milagro para su canonización en junio de 2015 hasta la promulgación del decreto aprobando el milagro en diciembre de 2015. Una trayectoria similar parecería ser el mejor de los casos para Romero.

Por esa razón, parece improbable que un anuncio definitivo esté listo en marzo o incluso en mayo, cuando los obispos latinoamericanos desciendan a San Salvador para su reunión. Ha habido especulaciones de que Francisco podría hacer una visita apresuradamente anunciada a la reunión, para conmemorar el décimo aniversario de una reunión anterior en Aparecida, Brasil, presidida por el Papa, y canonizar a Romero en San Salvador. Pero eso es imposible teniendo en cuenta la anunciada agenda papal para el año, que presume que el Papa visitará a Portugal del 9 al 12 de mayo; esas fechas están casi esculpidas en piedra, porque corresponden a otro importante centenario, las apariciones marianas en Fátima. Por lo tanto, marzo o mayo, ambos parecen irrealistas.

Lo que nos deja con agosto de 2017. Esa fecha parece viable. Proporcionaría tiempo suficiente, bajo el modelo “vía rápida” de la Madre Teresa, para que se certifique el milagro, de modo que un anuncio podría hacerse en la fecha del centenario de Romero (15 de agosto). El Arzobispo Vincenzo Paglia, postulador de la causa, está programado para dar una charla sobre Romero en Londres el 12 de agosto—será interesante ver qué dice. Posteriormente, la canonización podría ocurrir al final del año—¿quizás en Roma en la misa papal de la Virgen de Guadalupe?—o en El Salvador el próximo año.

Conformemente, por estas razones, me parece que el escenario más probable es que vamos a escuchar grandes alabanzas para Romero en marzo y mayo, y quizás anuncios preparatorios, pero ninguna decisión final sobre su canonización hasta agosto. (Predicción # 1). Por supuesto, podría estar felizmente equivocado, y podemos escuchar un anuncio en marzo o mayo y, en ese caso, la ceremonia podría tener lugar en o alrededor del centenario. (Predicción # 2.) Y, el Papa también está libre de saltar el requisito de un milagro, aunque no creo que sea probable que lo haga, pero si lo hace entonces cambia del todo el juego y podemos ver que las cosas se muevan con aún mayor celeridad.

En cualquier caso, el 2017 se perfila como un gran año para el mártir salvadoreño y para su compañero, Rutilio Grande, quien murió tres años antes, y cuya beatificación probablemente será aprobada este año, posiblemente a la par de la causa Romero.