VATICAN CITY (CBSMiami/AP) — Pope Francis is putting an American priest on the path to possible sainthood by declaring him a martyr.READ MORE: Attorney: School Gunman Nikolas Cruz To Plead Guilty To Massacre; Parkland Families React
Francis signed a martyrdom decree Thursday for the Rev. Stanley Rother of Oklahoma. He was killed in 1981, one of several priests slain during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war. Rother had been in Guatemala translating the New Testament into an Indian dialect.READ MORE: Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty In BSO Jail Guard Attack
The martyrdom declaration paves the way for Rother’s beatification. Unlike regular candidates, martyrs don’t need a Vatican-certified miracle attributed to their intercession to be beatified. A miracle, however, is necessary to be declared a saint.
Francis, history’s first Latin American pope, has made clear that he believes priests killed during Latin America’s right-wing dictatorships died out of hatred for the faith, including Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero.MORE NEWS: Parkland Survivor David Hogg On Potential Guilty Plea: 'It's Horrific That Our Community Has To Continue Going Through This'
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