Romero: A Saint for the Americas
By the time he was shot dead in 1980 millions already considered Archbishop Romero a living saint. This included many of those at his last service, who were listening with rapt attention when gunmen burst in and killed him on the altar as he was celebrating mass.
Almost 35 years later, Romero remains a national hero in violence-ridden El Salvador and could be beatified this year – the third of the four steps in the canonisation process. However, as one of the names most associated with Liberation Theology in the region, and a champion for the rights of the downtrodden, he remains a controversial figure for the Catholic Church, where leaders remain unsure of how to treat his legacy.
Mark Dowd travels to El Salvador and wanders the street where memories of Romero continue to burn bright. From a country best know for its gang and cartel violence, Mark explores a more positive tone that remains today - how this outspoken Bishop stood up to the violence of the time and a ruthless government at war with its own citizens, and in doing so, became an icon for justice in the region. He investigates how his outspoken words against the politicians and his support of the country's poorer citizens ruffled the feathers of the Church establishment – and ultimately led to his bloody death on the altar.