Ciudad 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
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?