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Rome Reports

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The first auxiliary bishop made cardinal for his loyalty to St. Óscar Romero


In May 2017, Pope Francis ended the Angelus by announcing that he would create five new cardinals.

One of them was particularly surprising. Gregorio Rosa Chávez was not the head bishop of his diocese, and as a result, he became the first auxiliary bishop in history to be become a cardinal. He received the recognition for his devotion to his friend, the martyred Saint Oscar Romero.

CARD. GREGORIO ROSA CHÁVEZ
I come in his name to receive what he should have received, but God called him too soon and crowned him with martyrdom.

Cardinal Chavez and St. Oscar Romero lived through El Salvador's civil war together. In 1979, the government began suppressing politicians, unionists and priests. 

Saint Oscar Romero denounced the regime and fought its injustices until his death in 1980. He has since become known as the "red bishop."

ARIEL BERAMENDI
Author, "Conversations with Cardinal Rosa Chávez"

In Rome he had very bad press because from El Salvador, from the Embassy and other places, they sent reports about his actions. After his martyrdom, which led him to sainthood, the figure of Oscar Romero was essentially buried.

Immediately following his death, those closest to Saint Oscar Romero were ostracized.

ARIEL BERAMENDI
Author, "Conversations with Cardinal Rosa Chávez"

Gregorio Rosa Chavez was a friend, a secretary and a confidant of the archbishop. As a result of that friendship, Gregorio Rosa Chavez was marginalized. He was sent to be parish priest at a remote parish while he was auxiliary bishop.

Cardinal Rosa Chávez was interviewed about this difficult period in Ariel Beramendi's book “Conversations with Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez: Candidate for the Nobel Prize for Loyalty.” The book discusses how Cardinal Rosa Chávez's life was affected by Saint Oscar Romero, who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2018.

ARIEL BERAMENDI
Author, "Conversations with Cardinal Rosa Chávez"

The book is a way to travel with Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez and discover his life: his adolescence, his vocation, his episcopate. And also, the difficulties he faced and later, being a cardinal.

The title of the book comes from Pope Francis' 2019 visit to Panama. In a meeting with bishops, the Pope referred to Cardinal Rosa Chavez as “a candidate for the Nobel Prize for loyalty.”

POPE FRANCIS
I want to share this reflection with you on the figure of Romero. I know that among us there are people who knew him firsthand, such as Cardinal Rosa Chavez, who Cardinal Quarracino told me is "a candidate for the Nobel Prize for loyalty.”

The book also addresses issues within the Church when it was written in 2019 as well as today, such as opposition to Pope Francis and cases of abuse. 

With it, new audiences can learn about the life of Gregorio Rosa Chavez and a piece of El Salvador's history.

CA
TR: MG