The following comes from Zenit.com:
A Theological Commission of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints has recognized the martyrdom of Fr. Stanley Rother, a priest from Oklahoma.
According to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the vote is a crucial step in advancing his cause of Beatification. If beatified, Fr. Stanley Rother would be the first Catholic martyr and priest from the United States to receive such recognition.
Fr. Rother, a native of Okarche and a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, was murdered by an unknown assailant on July 28th, 1981. At the time, he was serving as pastor at the parish of Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala. Despite receiving death threats, he chose to return to his mission. Ten other priests were killed that same year in Guatemala.
The Theological Commission, which was made up of 9 theologians, discussed the case. A majority vote determined that Fr. Rother died in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith).
The next phase will see Fr. Rother’s Cause move forward to a panel of cardinals and archbishops of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City released a statement following the vote, saying the recognition was “encouraging.”
“Father Rother laid down his life for Christ and for the people of his parish in Guatemala, whom he dearly loved,” he stated. “It is very encouraging to move one step closer to a formal recognition by the Church of Father Rother’s heroic life and death as a martyr for the Gospel.”