Archdiocese of San Salvador
Archidiœcesis Sancti Salvatoris in America
Arquidócesis de San Salvador
|Ecclesiastical province||San Salvador|
|Metropolitan||Metropolitan Area of San Salvador|
|Headquarters||San Salvador City|
|Area||3,295 km2 (1,272 sq mi)|
|(as of 2014)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||28 September 1842 (181 years, 60 days)|
as Diocese of San Salvador
|Cathedral||Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador|
(Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior)
|Language||Spanish and Latin|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||José Luis Escobar Alas|
The Archdiocese of San Salvador is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or archdiocese of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. Its archepiscopal see is the Salvadoran capital, San Salvador, and the surrounding region.
The current Archbishop of San Salvador is José Luis Escobar Alas. His cathedra is in Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador, otherwise the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador). The city also has a former cathedral, now the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Spanish: Basílica del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús), and a minor basilica dedicated to the Virgin of Guadelupe, the Basílica de la Ceiba de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. The Archdiocese of San Salvador is the sole metropolitan see in El Salvador, with seven suffragan dioceses in its ecclesiastical province: the Dioceses of Chalatenango, San Miguel, San Vicente, Santa Ana, Santiago de María, Sonsonate, and Zacatecoluca.
The Archdiocese of San Salvador has an unusual arrangement in which the auxiliary bishop, Gregorio Rosa Chávez, is a cardinal, whilst the archbishop is not. The Archbishop of San Salvador retains ordinary authority over the archdiocese.
As of 2014[update], it pastorally served 2,322,000 Catholics (74.0% of 3,137,000 total) on 3,295 km2 in 162 parishes and 6 missions with 354 priests (158 diocesan, 196 religious), 1 deacon, 1,471 lay religious (343 brothers, 1,128 sisters) and 107 seminarians.
What is currently the territory of the Republic of El Salvador previously was part of the Spanish colonial Captaincy General (governorship) of Guatemala and, ecclesiastically, of the Archdiocese of Guatemala. Until 1842, there were four church regions in El Salvador, which reported to the San Salvador region, the most important one: Santa Ana, Sonsonate, San Vicente and San Miguel.
- Pope Gregory XVI erected the Diocese of the Divine Savior (in Spanish, El Salvador means "The Savior"), separating the territory of the Republic of El Salvador from the Archdiocese of Guatemala, by Papal bull dated 28 September 1842, constituting it as a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Guatemala.
- On 22 February 1913, it was promoted as Metropolitan Archdiocese of San Salvador / Sancti Salvatoris in America (Latin), having lost territory to establish as first suffragan sees Diocese of San Miguel and Diocese of Santa Ana
- It lost territories again : on 18 December 1943, to establish Diocese of San Vicente, and on 30 December 1987, to establish Diocese of Chalatenango, both as its suffragans.
- It enjoyed Papal visits from Pope John Paul II in March 1983 and February 1996.
Twentieth Century policy
Under three archbishops, Luis Chávez y González, Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, and Arturo Rivera y Damas, the archdiocese saw over fifty years of a progressive pastoral ministry influenced by the currents of the Second Vatican Council and a Latin American church trend that later was known as Liberation Theology. Critics interpreted the Church's advocacy for the poor as fomenting a socialist revolution and targeted the clergy for assassination. Two bishops, including Archbishop Romero, were assassinated, as were twenty six priests (including Fr. Rutilio Grande), three nuns and countless catechists and Church workers.
The post-Civil War period saw a return to traditional spirituality under the watch of the conservative Archbishop Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, a former military chaplain and member of Opus Dei.
Sexual abuse cases
In November 2015, sex abuse scandals in the Archdiocese of San Salvador became public when the archdiocese's third highest ranking priest, Jesus Delgado, who was also the biographer and personal secretary of the Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was dismissed by the archdiocese after its investigation showed that he had molested a girl, now 42 years of age, when she was between the ages of 9 and 17. Due to the statute of limitations, Delgado could not face criminal charges. In December 2016, a canonical court convicted Delgado and two other El Salvador priests, Francisco Galvez and Antonio Molina, of committing acts of sex abuse between the years 1980 and 2000 and laicized them from the priesthood. In November 2019, the archdiocese acknowledged sex abuse committed by a priest identified as Leopoldo Sosa Tolentino in 1994 and issued a public apology to his victim. Tolentino was suspended from ministry and began the canonical trial process. Another El Salvador priest was laicized in 2019 after pleading guilty to sex abuse in a Vatican trial and is serving a 16-year prison sentence after being convicted in a criminal trial.
The ecclesiastical province of San Salvador comprises the whole country, consisting of the Metropolitan's archbishopric and the following suffragan sees:
- Diocese of Chalatenango
- Diocese of San Miguel
- Diocese of San Vicente
- Diocese of Santa Ana
- Diocese of Santiago de María
- Diocese of Sonsonate
- Diocese of Zacatecoluca
- Bishops of San Salvador
|Bishop||Term start||Term end||Appointed by||Ref.|
|1||José Jorge de Viteri y Ungo
|6 years and 292 days|
|2||Tomas Miguel Pineda y Saldaña
|22 years and 159 days|
|3||José Luis Cárcamo y Rodríguez
|10 years and 27 days|
|4||Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar
|25 years and 29 days|
- Archbishops of San Salvador
|Archbishop||Term start||Term end||Appointed by||Ref.|
|4||Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar
|13 years and 65 days|
|5||José Alfonso Belloso y Sánchez
|10 years and 230 days|
|6||Luis Chávez y González
|38 years and 155 days|
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez
|3 years and 50 days|
|8||Arturo Rivera y Damas
|John Paul II|||
|11 years and 271 days|
|9||Fernando Sáenz Lacalle
|13 years and 249 days|
|10||José Luis Escobar Alas
|14 years and 335 days|
- Mariano Ortiz y Urruela (1866–1873)
- Luis Cárcamo y Rodríguez (1871–1875) (overlapped with Ortiz y Urrela)
- Tomás Miguel Pineda y Saldaña (1848–1853), appointed Bishop here
- Santiago Ricardo Vilanova y Meléndez (1913–1915), appointed Bishop of Santa Ana
- José Alfonso Belloso y Sánchez (1919–1927), appointed Archbishop here
- Pedro Arnoldo Aparicio y Quintanilla, S.D.B. (1946–1948), appointed Bishop of San Vicente
- Rafael Valladares y Argumedo (1956–1961)
- Arturo Rivera y Damas (1960–1977), appointed Bishop of Santiago de María and later Archbishop of San Salvador
- José Eduardo Alvarez Ramírez, C.M. (1965–1969), appointed Bishop of San Miguel
- Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1970–1974), appointed Bishop of Santiago de María
- Marco René Revelo Contreras (1978–1981), appointed Bishop of Santa Ana
- Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez (1982–present); elevated to Cardinal in 2017
Other priests of this diocese who became bishops
- Juan Antonio Dueñas y Argumedo, appointed Bishop of San Miguel in 1913
- Francisco José Castro y Ramírez, appointed Bishop of Santiago de María in 1956
- William Ernesto Iraheta Rivera, appointed Bishop of Santiago de María in 2016
- "El Salvador archbishop apologizes over priest sex abuse case". Associated Press. November 3, 2019. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- "Senior El Salvador priest fired over alleged sex with minor". Reuters. November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- "Vatican court finds three El Salvador priests guilty of child abuse – CatholicHerald.co.uk". catholicherald.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2016-12-21.
- "Vatican trial finds three El Salvadoran priests guilty of sex abuse". Reuters. December 19, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
- "Romero – Compromised Canonization". Gloria.tv. March 9, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- "Initiate canonical process and suspend priest accused of sexual abuse of minors". Catholic News Agency-ACIPrensa. November 3, 2019. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- "Bishop José de Viteri y Ungo †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Bishop Tomás Miguel Pineda y Saldaña †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Bishop José Luis Cárcamo y Rodríguez †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop José Alfonso Belloso y Sánchez †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop Luis Chávez y González †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop Arturo Rivera Damas, S.D.B. †". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop Fernando Sáenz Lacalle". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
- "Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 11 June 2021.