Sacked Bishop: So Much For Pope Francis’ Talk About “Mercy”…

Sacked Bishop: So Much For Pope Francis’ Talk About “Mercy”…

pope-francis1Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Sep 26, 2014 / 03:44 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano has accepted in obedience Pope Francis’ decision to remove him from governance of the Ciudad del Este diocese, though he says the action resulted from a flawed apostolic visitation and that his country is in vital need of Christian renewal.

“As an obedient son of the Church, I nevertheless accept this decision, despite considering it to be unfounded and arbitrary,” Bishop Livieres said in a Sept. 25 letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. “Despite so much discourse about dialogue, mercy, openness, decentralization, and respect for local Churches, I haven’t have the opportunity to talk to Pope Francis, not even to clarify a doubt or a concern.”  (emphasis added).

On Sept. 25 the Holy See announced that Pope Francis has decided to remove the bishop from the Diocese of Ciudad del Este “for serious pastoral reasons and for the greater good of the unity of the Church in Ciudad del Este and the episcopal communion in Paraguay.” Bishop Ricardo Valenzuela Rios of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo has been appointed as apostolic administrator of the diocese while it is vacant. Bishop Livieres’ removal followed a five-day apostolic visitation of the diocese which took place in July. At the end of that month, it was announced that ordinations in the diocese were to be suspended.

Bishop Livieres, who had led the diocese since 2004, said he has still not seen the documents regarding the apostolic visitation and has not been able to “adequately respond to it.” He said the document removing him from his office “gives as justification for such a grave decision the tension in the ecclesial community between the bishops of Paraguay, and my person and diocese.”

Bishop Livieres opened a major seminary soon after his arrival in the diocese. He shortened its formation period to four years on the grounds that new priests were urgently needed. More than 60 graduates of the seminary have become priests in the last ten years. The diocese also opened a minor seminary and an institute for priestly formation. Before Bishop Livieres’ removal, a statement on the diocese’s website charged that the Paraguayan bishops “resisted” these seminaries because they would “break the monolithic scheme of priestly formation” in practice at Paraguay’s national seminary. Bishop Livieres defended the seminaries of his diocese, noting that the Congregation for Catholic Education found “defective formation” in Paraguay’s national seminary. “Our diocesan seminary has provided excellent fruits recognized by recent laudatory letters from the Holy See in at least three occasion during the previous pontificate, by the bishops who have visited us, and most recently, by the apostolic visitators. Every single suggestion made by the Holy See regarding how to improve the formation has been faithfully fulfilled.”  Read more

Comment

This latest attack on Catholic Tradition by Pope Francis seems to follow a determined pattern. I’m continually hearing people say that a formal schism is looming. Maybe – if the orthodox and/or “traditional leaning” priests and prelates make a stand. But will they? Or will they be afraid to follow the example of the cardinals who have opposed Cardinal Kasper’s plans for the forthcoming Synod on the Family in case they, too, “irritate” Pope Francis with their adherence to the authentic traditional Catholic Faith? 

Comments (106)

  • Therese

    Tut tut Michaela. Remember, we must not be judgemental of others’ sexual sins. They’re not that important, don’tcha know? Show some mercy and compassion and get with the programme, for Heaven’s(?) sake!

    What’s that you say? The Ten what?

    September 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm
    • Michaela

      “Commandments” Therese! LOL!

      October 1, 2014 at 9:15 am
  • editor

    One aspect of the Bishop Conry affair(s) that seems to be overlooked (as is commonplace in these situations) is the role of the women. They are not without blame. Indeed, it is arguably true to say that they are MORE to blame than the priest.

    Now, where did I put my dark glasses and raincoat?

    September 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm
  • laguna2002

    Editor

    You’ve never said a truer word! These women who become involved with priests KNOW that they are not available, yet they persist and, in some cases, engineer occasions to be alone and cry on the priests shoulder. Priests are often targeted in this way because of their ‘aloneness’. Satan is not idle in all of this.
    Perhaps the Church should sue HER for the same amount as the husband is seeking from the Church! Daft? Maybe, but if he claims the ‘institutional’ Church is liable for the damage caused to the marriage, is it so far fetched to say that the parties joined in the ‘institution’ of marriage are equally (or more!) liable for the damage caused to the priesthood?

    September 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm
    • Athanasius

      Laguna2002

      I agree with you but wonder what all this suing of the Church is about. It wasn’t the Church that broke this man’s marriage up. The Church is as much a victim of betrayal in this matter as the jilted husband. It just goes to show how bitterness can make human beings very blind.

      As Judas Iscariot amply demonstrates, bishops are weak and fallible creatures like everyone else; they can fall from grace and they can give great scandal. But never the Church, which is the spotless Bride of Christ! The sins of men, even clergymen, should never be levied against Our Lord, which is exactly what takes place when people sue the Church, His Mystical Body. What they actually do is sue Our Lord Himself for the failings of His disciples. This is unthinkable!

      September 30, 2014 at 7:21 pm
      • editor

        Athanasius,

        It’s not – in fact – “the Church” the man is threatening to sue but the Bishops’ Conference – “the Church” is just a shorthand way of saying that.

        And I say “good luck to him” – big time. These are worldlings who only understand worldly ways – maybe once their coffers are hit hard they’ll begin to think again about exactly what it is they should be doing. They bear huge responsibility for the marriage break-up – no question about it. They should be thankful the man is only threatening legal action. There are those in our neck of the woods up here who’d be organising a lynch mob!

        If only some parents would get together and sue their local bishop(s) for failing to oversee the teaching of the Faith in so called Catholic schools. That just might get their attention, since asking nicely hasn’t worked, nor has seeing their churches emptying by the nano-second brought them to their senses. The possibility of standing in the dock just might do the trick. But I digress…

        I have to say that I really don’t buy this “there but for the grace of God go I” and its associated sentiments. That may be interpreted as implying that God’s grace is somehow lacking to particular sinners or in the case of particular sins when the fact is that lax clergy are leaving themselves open to all sorts of occasions of sin and apparently deliberately indulging themselves sexually – as appears to have been the case with Bishop Conry who seems to have made a profession out of having affairs. Catholics should know that all the grace they need is available for the asking, and if they sin and repent using the Sacrament of Penance, they will remain in the state of grace, despite temptations, personal faults and imperfections (which the rest of you can’t help having… 😀 ) We don’t say “there but for the grace of God go I” when we hear of a murder or robbery on the news. We wouldn’t dream of committing those crimes/sins because we know that they are gravely wrong No special grace from God is required to avoid those sins, and no special grace should be required for priests to remain faithful to their promise of celibacy, beyond the graces provided by virtue of their vocation.

        By suing “the Church” – as you rightly say if that were the case – Our Lord would be sued, and what an insult to think of that, but a too indulgent attitude towards the prevailing sexual laxity may be interpreted as, in a sense, blaming Him for the sins of his decadent clergy. He has made all the grace anyone will ever need available to us, and it is only if we obstinately refuse to co-operate with that grace that we risk losing our souls for all eternity.

        So, of course nobody can sue “the Church” but when a bunch of bishops have deliberately tolerated (and boasted of it) priests having affairs (See Christian Order, January 2002 or Catholic Truth, October 2013 which quotes that CO feature) then they should be held to account in this world, as they will be in the next. But for the negligence of the Bishops of England in the form of a shockingly indulgent attitude towards priests having girlfriends, this family may still be intact.

        In that husband’s shoes, I’d sue the socks off them. Did I just type a mixed metaphor? 😀

        September 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm
      • Therese

        Editor

        I absolutely agree. They are, as you say, wordlings, so let them face the consequences of the world in which they so revel. They want the best of both worlds; time they were forced to face the fact that as they have chosen this one, they should play by its rules. Sue them for every penny, I say.

        September 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm
      • editor

        Therese,

        Remind me never to get on your wrong side!

        Seriously, I agree with you agreeing with me 😀

        September 30, 2014 at 9:51 pm
      • Therese

        Right back atcha, Ed!

        September 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm
  • john kearney

    The sad thing is that the Bishops affairs were well known. But this was the great time when the modernists were denouncing celibacy and a blind eye was turned. I saw a woman having an affair with the priest in my own parish and then they both ran off. Nobody seemed to care. At least now there is a movement away from all this.

    September 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm
    • westminsterfly

      ‘At least now there is a movement away from all this’. If only John, if only . . .

      October 1, 2014 at 8:46 am
  • laguna2002

    Athanasius, I agree. I wonder where personal responsibility has gone? Whilst it’s no excuse for the behaviour of anyone else, I understand that this woman had already left her husband, so perhaps he would now be better served looking at his own conduct and asking whether it contributed to the breakdown of his marriage, rather than try and blame the Church. I guess it’s always easier to point the finger and blame others – it’s harder to be honest and take a good, hard look at ourselves. Specks and planks in the eye come to mind.
    And this brings us full circle back to the point that Editor made earlier – this woman knew that KC wasn’t free to enter into any kind of relationship, but she nevertheless went ahead. And where has it all ended up? Ruin. And the only winner is Satan who is laughing all the way to the Tabloids.

    September 30, 2014 at 9:26 pm
  • Therese

    Laguna

    We have no evidence that the husband’s conduct in any way led to the breakdown of his marriage, so I think your remarks are rather unfair.

    September 30, 2014 at 9:53 pm
  • laguna2002

    Therese

    I didn’t say that his conduct DID lead to the breakdown – but simply said he should ask himself if it did. The letter seen by the Mail (what a rag!) sent by KC to this woman suggest a lack of love at the heart of the marriage, and I think it reasonable to ask what his contribution to this state of affairs was. If (and I stress IF) that were true then he would have questions to ask himself.

    But I still feel questions need to be asked of the woman involved.

    September 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm
    • editor

      Laguna2002,

      Whether or not he is worthy of a Husband of the Year trophy is neither here nor there. When approached for help with marriage difficulties, any clergyman who feels an attraction to the wife should decline involvement. The Bishop was in a position of trust which he breached – with the help of the wife, let it not be forgotten. The two of THEM are to blame for this scandal, not the husband. The husband may be to blame for some or most of the difficulties within the marriage (they nearly always ARE 😀 ) but not for the choices, good or bad, which his wife makes in exercising her free will. Otherwise, we’d have to give him the credit if she’d chosen to give all her worldly goods to charity and enter a convent for the rest of her life!

      I can never understand, anyway, why any woman would go to a priest for “counselling” in any matter, especially marriage problems. I’ve never understood that. Priests are there to dispense the Sacraments and preach
      but not to act as marriage counsellors. As we have seen in more than one instance, that sort of “relationship” is dangerous. If a married couple feel a need to speak with a priest, they should always attend together, and so, I hope, say all of us 😀

      September 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm
  • Athanasius

    At any rate, I think we all agree that the husband has no business suing the Church, which is the same as suing Our Lord. The Church cannot be held responsible for bad clerics who fail in their vows. So at the very least, this jilted husband has allowed his resentment to blind his judgment.

    October 1, 2014 at 12:46 am
    • Michaela

      Athanasius,

      I think Editor explained very clearly how suing the bishops of England is not the same as “suing the Church” as “the Church” cannot be held responsible for bad clerics, as you say, but surely the bishops who knew about his affairs, can be held responsible.

      Do you see the difference?

      October 1, 2014 at 8:57 am
      • Athanasius

        Michaela

        No, it’s “the Church” he’s suing, not the bishops of England. It won’t be the bishops of England named as individuals on any legal writ, it will be the Catholic Church. And it will be the Church that will have to pay legal costs and any awarded damages, not the bishops of England.

        Since there is no public distinction made between the Church and the bishops, and since the bishops will not be forking out of their own pockets, we may be assured that for all intents and purposes it is the Church herself that is being sued for something she had no part in. The man who is suing hasn’t made any distinction, nor will the general public and the press. If they did, then it would be individuals being named as defendants, not the divine institution.

        October 1, 2014 at 10:40 am
      • Michaela

        Athanasius,

        I would need to check out which name would appear on any writ because I don’t know that for a fact, but that is a legal technicality and the ignorance of the public in making the distinction between “the Church” and the bishops is not a good argument, with respect. Most people don’t believe that the Church is a “divine institution” and those of us who do, know the difference between the guilt of the bishops and the “innocent” Church.

        I guess we’ll have to just agree to disagree on this. I think the husband is right to sue the bishops.

        October 1, 2014 at 11:46 am
      • Athanasius

        Michaela

        I don’t think we’re a million miles apart in the matter of who is and who is not being sued. It is a bit of a distraction to the main subject, though, so we will agree to disagree on the wee technicalities.

        Where I take definite issue with you is in your assertion that the bishops should be sued.

        No Michaela, the bishops should not be sued because it means that Catholics are suing Catholics in secular courts for no other reason than revenge. Such litigation is absent of charity and can only result in further public disgrace being brought on the Church. True Catholics leave these matters of injustice to God.

        October 1, 2014 at 6:45 pm
      • editor

        Athanasius,

        We really cannot say what the husband’s motive for suing might be – and there is a very fine line between “revenge” and a perfectly legitimate desire to call those whom he regards as bearing responsibility, to account. In normal times, nobody would want to see Catholics using the secular courts but we’re not living in normal times – not remotely. In any case, as pointed out above, there is no legal basis for court action, so that won’t happen.

        One more point on the legal threat – we really cannot read the husband’s mind or soul, so we ought to leave aside attempting to judge any possible motivation and appreciate that his family has been broken up with quite a bit of help, it seems, from a Catholic bishop with, apparently, the knowledge of other members of the hierarchy. Any husband who wouldn’t be righteously angry about that and desire some form of justice being seen to be done, wouldn’t be human. If the thought “let those who caused this scandal worry about the public disgrace being brought on the Church” passed through his mind then I, for one, would have no problem sympathising with him.

        And it’s always, with respect, wiser to avoid terms such as “true Catholics”. But then I’m probably biased since I know full well that I am very far indeed from being one.

        I think we could leave this matter now – as you say yourself it’s a bit of a distraction to the main subject.

        October 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm
      • Athanasius

        Editor

        You’re quite right, “true Catholic” was not the right term for me to use and it’s not actually what I meant to say.

        Still, all this business of Catholics suing their bishops in secular courts, regardless of reasons, is just absolutely horrible. It’s hard to imagine the parties reminiscing in heaven one day about how they faced each other in court.

        I’m reminded of Our Lord’s words: “And all men will know that you are my disciples by your love one for another.” My goodness, how remiss the bishops have become in this regard!

        October 1, 2014 at 9:24 pm
      • editor

        You kidding me, Athanasius? You think I’m gonna be reminiscing in heaven with bishops one day – about anything? You kidding me? The minute I see a bishop, I’ll be huddled in a corner polishing my halo to death, so to speak, and if the bishops have any sense they’ll stay well outa my way…

        Yes, as you say, the bishops are SO remiss in charity but see how charitable I’m gonna be, by keeping well outa their road to avoid an argument?

        No, don’t praise me. It’s just all part of being humble. I know my limitations and sweet talking bishops – whether on earth or in heaven – is way outa my league. 😀 😀

        October 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm
      • Michaela

        Athanasius,

        I tried to find out about the legal technicalities and found this
        http://resources.lawinfo.com/family-law/domestic-violence/sexual-abuse-law/can-i-sue-my-former-priest-s-catholic-diocese.html

        Also Cardinal Pell has said abuse victims “should be able to sue the Catholic Church” and I presume he means the diocese.

        October 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm
      • editor

        Michaela/Athanasius,

        A reader in England emailed the following comment on the subject of legal action in the Conry case, which makes sense to me:

        “The wronged husband’s claims are all bluster. This man can’t sue anyone, he doesn’t have a case in law at all. Even if the other bishops did know. What Conry did was immoral, but not illegal. The fact that the bishops covered it up is also immoral but not illegal, as both were consenting adults. If the person involved had been a minor or a vulnerable adult, he would have a case, but as it stands, we have to assume this woman was mentally competent (despite her poor taste in men!) had free will, and made her own choices. That’s the way I see it.”

        That sorts that out – more’s the pity – as a very VERY wicked woman, the thought of seeing Cardinal Vincent Nichols in the dock had been brightening up my day, but … well … a gal can’t have everything 😀

        October 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm
      • Athanasius

        Editor,

        Yes, that does make sense. Thanks for that.

        October 1, 2014 at 6:49 pm
      • Athanasius

        They may sue if they wish, it’s their choice, but I don’t see how money can ever repair the damage done in these cases. For me, it’s just a case of people no longer leaving things in God’s hands, who alone will repay.

        October 1, 2014 at 6:47 pm
      • editor

        O, Athanasius, I wouldn’t want any money. I’d do it just for the sheer fun of it all! Imagine hearing the bishops swearing to tell the truth – WOW! Worth it for that experience alone 😀

        October 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm
      • Athanasius

        Editor,

        Yes, but would they swear on a Bible, and if so what Christian “faith tradition” Bible would they use?

        I think all ecumenically acceptable versions would have to be stacked together with the Torah, the Koran and any number of Eastern esoteric religious scripts. And let’s not exclude the Human Rights Charter.

        It would certainly be entertaining to see the bishop ascending a set of step ladders in the dock just to place his hand on the pile. Mind you, I hear that certain bishops have a reputation as good ladder climbers these days!

        October 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Athanasius,

        LOL!

        October 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm
  • josephhannley

    From Gourock, we have we have 8 Church’s within easy travelling distance. When the Schism arrives in full force, I wonder how which Church if any, decide enough is enough?

    October 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm
    • editor

      Joseph,

      Be sure to let us know 😀

      October 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm
  • editor

    This report is very interesting indeed in terms of the Pope’s aversion to “traditionally minded” (I’m beginning to think, even faintly orthodox) bishops. As the title of the article (and image) suggest, it really is “Open Season”…

    I’ll be closing the September threads very soon so anyone who wishes to comment on Bishop Finn, needs to do so in double quick time…

    October 2, 2014 at 10:08 am
  • jobstears

    Editor,

    I just read the report on Bishop Finn, thank you for posting the link. It looks like the humble Pope is not even making an attempt to mask his intention of purging the Church of real bishops. The speed with which he is attempting to stamp out the growth or even the slightest inclination toward tradition, whether it be in a religious order or diocese, is nothing short of wicked.

    October 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    • Michaela

      Jobstears,

      I agree with every single word of your comment about the Pope V Bishop Finn. It is definitely wicked the way Pope Francis is trampling all over Catholic Tradition. It really is diabolical. There is no other way to explain it.

      October 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Jobstears,

      “It looks like the humble Pope is not even making an attempt to mask his intention of purging the Church of real bishops”

      I fully concur, and I am totally shocked at this pope’s vengefulness towards anyone who is not liberal. I can’t believe what he’s doing to good and faithful bishops.

      October 2, 2014 at 8:25 pm

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