On May 23rd, 35 years after he was shot in the heart by a right-wing death squad assassin, Óscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador will be beatified.
Beatification is a recognition made by the Catholic Church to a deceased person who had a miracle take place through their prayer. The requirement of a miracle is not relevant to the canonization of those who died in martyrdom, as their divinity is evidenced by being killed "in hatred of the faith, charity, justice, or peace."
Romero was many things to many people. To some, he was a champion of the poor and a defender of human rights during some of El Salvador's darkest days. Others called him a supporter of armed revolution, a "Marxist guerilla clothed in a clerick's cassock."
Despite past controversy, today he is seen as a symbol to unite the Salvadoran people.
At least 250,000 people are expected to attend mass in the Plaza El Salvador del Mundo for the ceremony of beatification, a first step toward sainthood.
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