Social Justice advocate and Roman Catholic archbishop of Guatemala City, Oscar Julio Vian, died Saturday after a monthslong battle with cancer.
Vian was an outspoken critic of corruption in the Central American nation, notably denouncing any amendment to the law which would prevent the prosecution of politicians who received campaign funding under questionable circumstances.
Thousands turned out to pay tribute to the late archbishop at the Metropolitan Cathedral in central Guatemala City, where his body laid in state. Ivan Velasquez, the head of a UN-sponsored commission assigned to investigate corruption in the country was among those who paid respects.
In recent years, Vian would criticize Guatemala officials who were implicated in various graft scandals, accusing corrupt individuals of being bad citizens while demanding justice be served.
The clergyman demanded that tainted officials “return everything that was stolen.”
The archbishop was ordained as a priest in 1976 and named bishop in the northern Guatemalan department of Peten in 1996 by late Pope John Paul II. He was then ordained Archbishop of Los Altos on April 17, 2007, by former Pope Benedict XVI, before becoming Archbishop of Guatemala on October 2, 2010. He was the 36th archbishop of the Central American nation.
Vian was educated in Guatemala, El Salvador and Rome and taught in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama.
The 70-year-old archbishop died at Esperanza University Hospital.
The Guatemalan government has declared three days of national mourning, following which Vian will be interred, on Tuesday, in the crypts of the Metropolitan Cathedral.