Cause for canonization of priests assassinated during Argentine dictatorship under consideration

.- Three priests of Irish origin and two Spanish seminarians assassinated during the Argentine military dictatorship could be raised to the altars if the cause that has been initiated by the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires proves they died for the faith. Pedro Dufau, Alfredo Leaden and Alfie Kelly, all three priests from Ireland, and seminarians Salvador Barbeito and Emilio Barletti of Spain, were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on July 4, 1976, at St. Patrick’s Parish.

Although the perpetrators of the crime were never officially discovered, local officials said members of the military were responsible for the killings.

The cause for canonization has been requested by members of the religious order to which the five men belonged, in order to prove that they died martyrs.  Father Cesar Sturba, who is in charge of the ecclesiastical investigation, told the EFE news agency that “the canonization petition was made years ago, but the Archbishop has decided to authorize it now so that it does not become a historic case,” that is, one that has begun thirty years after the death of the person in question, thus falling under stricter requirements.

In addition to gathering testimonies from those who knew them, Father Sturba explained that it must be established that they have not received public veneration until now. “Its obvious that the process is arduous and could take many years, but the most important thing is that the first steps are now being taken,” he said.

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