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Grant Gallicho: Either way, this is welcome news. Unless you're a bishop who's enabled abusive priests.

25. sept. 2014

Grant Gallicho, Commonweal Magazine, skriver bl.a.:

This morning the Holy See press office announced that Pope Francis has removed Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, who had been bishop of the diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. Usually such statements say that the pope has accepted the resignation of a bishop. Not in this case. The Holy See plainly says that Livieres is being replaced. According to the statement, the decision was made “for the greater good and unity” of the local church and episcopal communion. But the move follows a July investigation of the diocese, following complaints from local lay Catholics and clergy, including an archbishop, about Livieres’s style of governance, and his decision to bring on and then promote to vicar general an Argentine priest who has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct—dating back to the late 1980s. (The Holy See’s announcement says nothing about the accused priest.)

After the initial investigation, but before the pope had studied the investigators’ report, the Vatican announced that the accused priest—Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity (whose story I’ve been covering over a series of posts )—had been removed from his position as vicar general. The Holy See also took the unusual step of forbidding Bishop Livieres from ordaining any more priests.

In response, Livieres posted a long defense brief on the website of his diocese. That document—itself a remarkable development (bishops don’t usually publicly refute Vatican sanctions)—claimed that Urrutigoity was wrongly accused, that he and Livieres were the victims of a smear campaign, and that Livieres invited Urrutigoity into the diocese on the recommendation of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now pope emeritus). The statement rebuked the archbishop of Asuncion—Livieres’s metropolitan—for “attacking” Urrutigoity, going so far as to allege that the archbishop himself was accused and “processed” for engaging in “homosexual activity.” In other words, Bishop Livieres was really feeling his oats.

He’s likely experiencing another sensation now.

Update after the jump:

So what does this mean? First, if you're a bishop who has not been handling cases of priests credibly accused of abuse very well, you may have already started happy hour.

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Of course, the pope has the authority to remove a bishop pretty much at will--see canon 1405. Perhaps Livieres's status as a member of Opus Dei had something to do with this curious omission. As a personal prelature (that is, a personal prelature of the pope), Opus Dei is goverened by its own statutes and falls under the jurisdiction of the Holy See and the Congregation for Bishops. Or maybe Rome is just improvising.

Either way, this is welcome news. Unless you're a bishop who's enabled abusive priests.

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