Giovanni Battista Montini was the Pope of the Council and the great reformer of the Church of our time, Abp. Romero is the "martyr of Salvador", killed "in hatred of the faith" for his defense of the poor and the denunciation of repression.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Paul VI and Oscar Arnolfo Romero Galdámez will be saints. Pope Francis has approved the promulgation of the related decrees by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini was born in Concesio, in the province of Brescia, on 26 September 1897. A man of great culture - he had three degrees in philosophy, canon law and civil law - and of great sensitivity, he was elected Pope on 21 June 1963. He was a great reformer, the Pope who led to the completion of Vatican Council II, of which he personally led the work, with the approval of its principal documents.
Even if only in general terms, he is remembered for his significant gestures, such as the destination of the papal tiara to the poor, the meeting in 1964 with the Orthodox patriarch Athenagora and the subsequent Catholic-Orthodox declaration of 1965, after over nine centuries of mutual excommunications. The meeting took place in Jerusalem, where Paul VI arrived by plane and was the first Pope to go there and take a plane. Furthermore, at the end of the Council he announced the creation of the Synod of Bishops, of which he established the competences; in 1966 he abolished the "Index of forbidden books" and the year after he decided to establish the World Day for Peace. He was the first Pope to celebrate a mass in an industrial plant on Christmas Eve (at Italsider in 1968).
In 1966 he confirmed priestly celibacy in an encyclical and the year after he published Humanae Vitae. That year he abolished all the functions attributed to the nobility in the papal court, with the exception of papal ushers. He also abolished the noble Guard and the Palatine Guard. Instead, he established the Commission for Social Communications, the Council for the Laity, for Justice and Peace Commission, the International Theological Commission and Cor Unum. In 1968 he reformed the Roman Curia, in which he introduced no small amount of non-Italian personalities. In 1969 he approved the reform of the mass, since then called "the vernacular", that is in modern languages, to facilitate the understanding of the faithful.
In 1970, in Manila, he was the first Pope to be victim of an attack, when he was wounded win a knife attack.
Finally, it was he who wanted the metal "pastoral cross" bearing the crucified Christ which was always used by John Paul II and often by his successors.
He died at Castel Gandolfo on 6 August 1978.
Abp. Romero is the martyr of Salvador. Born in 1917. He became a priest in 1942, in 1970 he was appointed auxiliary bishop of San Salvador. In this role he was one of the protagonists of the Latin American Bishops Conference of Medellin (1968), considered a fundamental moment in the history of the Church of the sub-continent.
In 1977 he became archbishop of San Salvador. In a period marked by the bloody repression of the popular movements, he was the bishop of the poor. The army, police and paramilitary movements also attacked priests and faithful called "communists". In Aguilares the church was destroyed and 200 faithful were killed.
The Archbishop opposed all of this, his catechesis transmitted by the diocesan radio had wide ranging audience.
On March 23, 1980, he asked the military not to obey orders contrary to the law of God. The next day he was killed "in hatred of the faith" by a hitman while he was celebrating mass in the chapel of the Divine Providence Hospital, where he lived.
On 24 March, the United Nations declared the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.