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Vatican opens cause for beatification of bishop assassinated during Argentine dictatorship

2015-08-05

The Vatican is reviewing the cause for beatification of Enrique Angelelli, the bishop of La Rioja, Argentina, who was assassinated in August of 1976.

He was a bishop acutely aware of social issues and was among the ones who confronted the military dictatorship. He died while returning from paying his respects to two priests of his diocese who had been killed under the military regime, which for years disguised his death as a car accident. 

To clarify what really happened, Pope Francis sent documents from the Vatican's secret archive. 

MSGR. MARCELO COLOMBO
Bishop of La Rioja (Argentina)
He said: "I will send you whatever I find. This has been a collaborative effort. This provided a great boost to this effort at a crucial moment, when the window for submitting evidence in support of the cause for beatification was closing, since it finally determined that the bishop had been murdered, despite the allegations that he died in a car accident.”

Two letters arrived from the Vatican archives that Enrique Angelelli had sent to the papal nuncio Pío Laghi. The first letter spoke of death threats he had received, while the second described in detail the murders of the two priests

MSRG. MARCELO COLOMBO
Bishop of La Rioja (Argentina)
"This revealed the extent of the persecution inflicted upon the local Church. The Church in Argentina had shed much blood as the then-Cardinal Bergoglio said in 2006: first Father Carlos Murias and Father Gabriel Longueville, then the layman Wenseslao Pedernera, and finally Enrique Angelelli.”

Bishop Angelelli was a very active participant in Second Vatican Council and his successor says that he wanted to be a "pastoral bishop in the service of his flock.”

MSGR. MARCELO COLOMBO
Bishop of La Rioja (Argentina)
"This expression: "with one ear listening to the flock and the other to the Gospel,” represents the two fixed points of reflection for a pastor, a servant of the community: the reality and the enduring newness of the Word of Christ.” 

Like Bishop Romero, Enrique Angelelli was one of the bishops assassinated during the Latin American dictatorships of the 70's. Their causes for beatification both declare that they were martyred for standing up in odium fidei, that is, against the hatred of the faith. 


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