NCR on Archbishop Romero

Archbishop Romero was the key leader of the Liberation Theology movement in Central and South America. At the time, Pope John Paul II considered him a Communist, part of the Worldwide Communist Conspiracy. John Paul went to great lengths to squelch him and his movement. The Catholic hierarchy and the Catholic media supported his efforts. Pope Francis, who hails from Argentina, recently paved the way for Romero to become a saint, undoing some of the damage by Pope John Paul. NCR is now rewriting the history of both Popes: “Archbishop Óscar Romero: setting the record straight.

First, NCR clearly depicts Romero as a saint, rather than a Communist - i.e., a sinner according to Catholic tradition. This is probably much closer to the truth than the earlier depiction under John Paul. However, neither the Vatican nor the Catholic press should be regarded as reliable.

NCR completely omitted references to Pope John Paul’s treatment of Archbishop Romero. The Pope basically spit in Romero’s face, both literally and figuratively. It was John Paul’s allies who murdered Romero, and John Paul made sure Romero received the most minimal honors – while blocking his path to martyrdom.

At the time, Rev. Bergoglio – the future Pope Francis – toed the party line and opposed both Liberation Theology and Archbishop Romero. Had he taken exception to Pope John Paul’s claims – even though he knew them to be misguided – he would have had no future in the Church. Bergoglio had more ambition than integrity. With Europeans fleeing the Church, Latin America became its new center of gravity. Bergoglio leveraged both his location and Italian ancestry, not to mention his vocal loyalty to Pope John Paul. This is another part of history that NCR, following Vatican protocol, has rewritten.

Still, this is better than most of what you are likely to read about Romero in Catholic media.


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