VATICAN CITY (CBSMiami/AP) — Pope Francis is putting an American priest on the path to possible sainthood by declaring him a martyr.READ MORE: Florida Senate Passes Scaled-Back Emergency Fund
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: Florida Senate Poised To Pass Redistricting Plans
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: Fired Former Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo Files Lawsuit Against City, Commissioners, City Manager
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)