Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Debora Ortega

Second Advisor

Miguel De La Torre

Third Advisor

Jennifer Hughes

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Martinez


Religious history, Catholic history, El Salvador, Los Angeles


This project considers the cognitive dissonance experienced by Salvadoran Catholics as civil war violence and their Catholic faith came face-to-face with Romero’s path towards canonization gathered momentum. Through binational, ethnographic observation and interviews, I gathered diverse and sometimes contradictory perspectives of local Salvadorans, transnational pilgrims at the celebration of Romero’s beatification, and Salvadoran Catholics in Los Angeles. I center the beatification event rather than the canonization mass at the Vatican two years later, in 2018, because my primary concern is the meaning Romero holds for Salvadoran’s themselves, including those living in the United States. Through the beatification and canonization, the Catholic Church sanctioned Romero’s role as a martyr. Today, many Salvadorans continue to perceive Romero as a revolutionary figure who struggled to bring about socio-economic justice. While controversial at times, Romero’s impression on El Salvador’s history continues to play a role in the religious lives of Salvadoran Catholics. This project examines and contrasts the sanitized narrative of Romero with the unresolved legacies of violence that continue to plague Salvadorans. Romero’s canonization cannot, in the final analysis, resolve or reconcile the ongoing legacies of violence and trauma that were the primary context of Romero’s own life and brief episcopacy.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kristian A. Diaz


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

164 pgs


Religious history