Sunday, October 14, marks the canonization of two new saints in the Catholic Church – Archbishop Oscar Romero and Pope Paul VI. The two men, along with five others, were canonized in a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at 10am local time in Vatican City. The representatives who are participating in the youth synod also attended the long-awaited canonization ceremony.
Saint Paul VI is the pontiff who closed the Second Vatican Council over two years after the start of his pontificate, a council which was started by Pope John XXIII in 1962. He is widely remembered for reaffirming the Catholic Church’s stance against birth control when many believed that the Church might change her view on the matter. His 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year, spoke of the beauty of marital love and the consequences of interfering with and disrespecting God’s design for procreation within the bond of marriage.
Saint Paul VI was also the first pope to travel outside of Italy in more than a century, making himself more visible and available to the worldwide Church. Subsequent popes have followed in his footsteps, traveling around the world to attend events and make pastoral visits to many countries.
Saint Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador, appointed to the position by Pope Paul VI in 1977. Just three years later, he was assassinated while celebrating the Holy Mass. The archbishop was outspoken against military oppression in his home country of El Salvador and according to Rome Reports, in 2015 “the Church recognized that Oscar Romero died a martyr killed for hatred of the faith.”
“It was really the events that drew him out—I can see a parallel with Thomas More, a bookish man who events in the larger world drew him to a life and death struggle. So, Romero didn’t start out with any political orientation, he saw his role as being the bishop of all the people, of course. But the events were so horrific—thousands of people were being killed, one of his friends … was killed by a death squad—so it ultimately came to a point where he saw the urgency of protecting his flock. Which, after all is what a bishop is called upon to do,” said Mike Sullivan in an interview on The Drew Mariani ShowTM.
Saints Francesco Spinelli and Vicenzo Romano, both Italian diocesan priests, Saints Maria Katharina Kasper and Nazaria Ignacia, Spanish founders of women’s religious orders, and Saint Nuncio Solprizio, a young man who endured much suffering in his short life, were also canonized on October 14.
Hear Mike Sullivan on The Drew Mariani ShowTM discussing the story of Saint Oscar Romero:
Correction: a previous version of this story indicated that four saints were canonized with Saints Oscar Romero and Paul VI. There were five.