Sunday, March 20, 2011

One More Piece Worth Reading Now: Michael Sean Winters on Obama's Visit to Romero's Tomb

In my posting earlier today, I provided a link to a posting at Jayden Cameron's Gay Mystic blog with a video of a recent performance in Prague of Rene Ochoa's Misa del Pueblo to honor St. Óscar Romero.  (I have my own iconostasis of saints, which doesn't always correspond to ones Rome has officially canonized--Oscar Romero is on my iconostasis.)

And now I'm seeing Michael Sean Winters' latest posting at his blog site at National Catholic Reporter, noting that President Obama will visit the tomb of Óscar Romero this coming Wednesday.  If I'm not mistaken, that's the vigil of Romero's martyrdom.  As Winters notes, this presidential act is of great symbolic importance, since Romero was gunned down by troops armed and egged on by the United States.

As he also says--and I agree wholeheartedly--if the President of the U.S. can understand the significance of Romero, it's puzzling that Rome seems unable to do so, and continues to drag its feet re: the canonization of Romero.

One of the reasons I continue to oppose the canonization of John Paul II is that John Paul treated Romero shamefully, and placed a moratorium on his canonization.  To canonize the pope who had decided to remove Romero from his position in the Salvadoran church shortly before Romero was assassinated, who shunned Romero on one occasion when Romero sought an audience with him, and who then blocked his canonization for a period of time, scandalizes me.

To canonize John Paul II while Romero, who was martyred for his faith and is widely venerated as a saint by the poor of Latin American, remains uncanonized is a scandalous decision on the part of the Vatican.  There may not have been banners at Romero's funeral saying, Santo subito!, bought and paid for by conservative Catholic groups.  And there may not have been an orchestrated, bought and paid for campaign by some Catholics to have Romero canonized immediately.

But the poor of his nation, among whom he walked and with whom he showed solidarity, even to the extent of laying down his life for them, were there in droves.  Even when they knew that violence would likely be directed at those attending the funeral--violence coming from the same people who put Romero to death.  And there was, with some of those attending the funeral murdered. 

The decision to move forward John Paul's canonization while putting Romero's in limbo is a statement about how the Vatican regards the struggling people of Latin America and the worth of their lives.  A scandalous statement.  In the extreme.

(And I hope that as Obama visits Romero's tomb, the saint will cause the president to reflect a little about his unconscionable decision to up the ante of war in recent days.)

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