US Catholic Faith in Real Life

St. Dorothy's killer free--can we get a canonization for Stang?

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Lost beneath the coverage of the announcement of the dual canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII was news that the man who killed Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005 has been released from prison in Brazil's Para state, after serving about eight years of a 27-year term. Stang, an activist on behalf of indigenous and peasant rights and the environment in Brazil's Amazon, was shot six times at point blank range for opposing the expansion of cattle ranches onto vulnerable lands and at the expense of vulnerable people.

Back at the Vatican, Pope Francis will likely get credit for balancing the desires of both John Paul II and John XXIII boosters for his announcement, good enough when it comes to church politics. But if he really wanted to shake things up and signal where he stands--and where he wishes to point the church--he'd announce the immediate beatification of Dorothy Stang, martyr, so that, along with Oscar Romero, we can celebrate the holiness of taking the side of the poor, all the way to death.