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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Pope Francis canonises Oscar Romero and Pope Paul VI

Pope Francis has declared Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, and Pope Paul VI, the pontiff of the 1960s and 1970s, to be saints.

In a Mass in St Peter’s Square, Rome, the Holy Father also canonised Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nunzio Sulprizio.

“All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all,” said Pope Francis.

St Oscar was killed by a single bullet fired from an assassin’s gun on March 24 1980 while he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the San Salvador cancer hospital where he lived.

A day earlier, he had preached a homily in which he urged soldiers to heed God’s law and to refuse to take part in repressive actions against the poor of El Salvador.

St Paul VI oversaw the reforms of the Catholic Church of the Second Vatican Council. He was a pioneer of the New Evangelisation and in 1968 also issued Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that forbade married couples from using contraception.

Pope Francis said that like St Paul the Apostle, Paul VI “spent his life for Christ’s Gospel, crossing new boundaries and becoming its witness in proclamation and in dialogue, a prophet of a Church turned outwards, looking to those far away and taking care of the poor”.

He said: “Even in the midst of tiredness and misunderstanding, Paul VI bore witness in a passionate way to the beauty and the joy of following Christ totally.

“Today he still urges us, together with the Council whose wise helmsman he was, to live our common vocation: the universal call to holiness … Not to half measures, but to holiness.”

Pope Francis continued: “It is wonderful that together with him and the other new saints today, there is Archbishop Romero, who left the security of the world, even his own safety, in order to give his life according to the Gospel, close to the poor and to his people, with a heart drawn to Jesus and his brothers and sisters.”