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Slain Salvadoran archbishop Romero to be made a saint: Pope

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By Reuters

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered by a right-wing death squad in 1980 and is an icon of the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America, will be made a saint, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

A street vendor sells flags of the late archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Arnulfo Romero during a procession in San Salvador May 22, 2015. (REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/ MANILA BULLETIN)

A street vendor sells flags of the late archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Arnulfo Romero during a procession in San Salvador May 22, 2015. (REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Pope Francis made the announcement at a meeting of cardinals called to give the final approval to several sainthood causes.

Romero was shot dead on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel in the impoverished Central American state of El Salvador. He had often denounced repression and poverty in his homilies.

The murder was one of the most shocking of the long conflict between a series of US-backed governments and leftist rebels in which thousands were killed by right-wing and military death squads. No one was ever brought to justice for his killing.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, put Romero on the path to sainthood in 2015, saying he had been killed “in hatred of the faith” and beatifying him.

The pope said Romero should be canonised, or declared a saint, after a Vatican theological and medical commission approved a miracle attributed to him.

The Church teaches that God performs miracles but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them. A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of someone.

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