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Pope Moves Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero Closer to Sainthood

Pope Francis decreed on Tuesday that slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed by those who hated his Catholic faith, approving a martyrdom declaration that puts Romero on the path to sainthood.

Romero, who was the the archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down by right-wing death squads while he celebrated Mass in 1980. He had been an outspoken critic of the right-wing government's repression at the hands of the country's army.

Romero's sainthood cause had been held up for years by the Vatican over his perceived association with liberation theology, which espouses Catholic teaching along with social and economic justice. Francis, the first Latin American pope, said there were no more "doctrinal concerns" over Romero.

Last year Francis suggested the definition of martyr could be expanded to include those killed in acts of anti-Catholic persecution, and wanted theologians to study if that included those killed for "doing the work for the other that Jesus commands."

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--The Associated Press and Reuters