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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/22/15

Pope Francis & Oscar Romero: Upending the Theology of John Paul II

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"Don't you think you're exaggerating?" the pope asked in disbelief.

That's the background behind the refusal of John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI to advance the cause of Oscar Romero towards sainthood. According to papal theology, the archbishop couldn't be recognized as a "martyr," because martyrs traditionally died for their faith at the hands of pagans, i.e. by enemies of the True Faith. And Archbishop Romero was killed by fellow Catholics friendly towards Rome.

Pope Francis however has reversed all of that. In recognizing Monsignor Romero as a martyr, he's implicitly saying that the archbishop's version of the faith (emphasizing social justice and siding with the poor) represents the true faith of Pentecost. Individualistic, decontextualized after-life theology does not.

Do you see what I mean about fundamental change?

Pentecost's Holy Spirit can change any of us -- even institutional behemoths like the Roman Catholic Church.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. His latest book is "The Magic (more...)

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