Pope on Oscar Romero: He was 'excommunicated' in the whispers of many bishops
In the church of St. Francis of Assisi the pope delivered a long and forceful speech to the bishops of Central America.
He started by recalling those Christians who were martyred for denouncing the injustices the poorest suffered in the past decades. He publicly praised the bishops who at that time stood firm despite criticisms.
“I remember when I was a young priest your name was a 'bad word.' However, your perseverance showed the way. Thank you.”
During the pope's speech, he used the example of Oscar Romero, who he canonized in October 2018.
“His name was also a 'bad word.' He was suspected, 'excommunicated' in the whispers of so many bishops.”
Pope Francis asked bishops to listen to the people because they will sometimes learn from their example and commitment to the Church. He humorously noted a recent case he came across.
“Speaking of grandmothers, I have seen two times the same grandmother. I saw her yesterday and again today. She was an old lady, like this, my age or even older, with a mitre. She had put on a mitre that she had made with cardboard and a sign that said: 'Holiness: grandmothers also make a mess.' Your people are marvelous.”
The pope insisted a lot to bishops to make themselves available to the priests in their dioceses. He gave them an example of a bishop he knew.
“It was often the case that when his meetings ended in the morning, and he couldn't see the time to go to lunch, there were two priests waiting for him. They weren't on his schedule but he would still go to attend to them as if he had the whole morning. It is necessary to make yourselves more available. Let the noodles and meat cool down. Let yourself be bothered by the priests.”
He also expressed his concern for the many Christians who have forgotten the meaning of compassion.
His address to the bishops of Central America was profound, direct and very demanding. So much so that when he finished, he asked for help to preach by example.
“Don't forget to pray for me to fulfill everything I said.”