|Bishop Raul Vera Lopez will be off to see the Powers that Be about the same time Archbishop Chaput is installed in Philadelphia by those same Powers.|
In July I ran two stories on two different men, Cardinal Jose Policarpo of Lisbon, Portugal and Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of the Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico. Vatican Insider is currently running two pieces about these men and how they have been called to the Vatican woodshed. In Policarpo's case, his trip was over statements he made about the lack of theological reasons for the prohibition on ordaining women, and in Lopez's case, his trip involves both his support for a gay and lesbian group and for a human rights campaign to de criminalize abortion in all States in Mexico. The following is an excerpt from the Vat Insider article on Cardinal Policarpo.
...Now, the Portuguese daily paper reveals a behind the scenes description of what happened over the past weeks, stating that the Lisbon patriarch was summoned by the Papal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. The conversation took place in Castel Gandolfo in the first half of July, while the Portuguese cardinal was in Rome to participate to a plenary session of the newly formed Papal Council for the new evangelization. Publico writes that Policarpo was treated with extreme kindness “because the Vatican was afraid he would react negatively to a strong reprimand.” (How sweet, Bishop Ruiz will not be so lucky.)
On July 2, a few days before the meeting with Bertone, Policarpo had received, through a papal nuncio in Lisbon, a letter by cardinal William Levada, prefect of the former Holy Office. According to a testimony obtained by Publico, the letter apparently had him very worried. For this reason, on 6 July, the patriarch wrote a clarification statement. The Portuguese daily paper, however, highlights that this was not the first time Policarpo had made statements of this kind about women priests: however, it was the first time that his words had been reported by the international press.
António Marujo’s article provides several of the cardinal’s statements as examples. In 1999, a year after his appointment as Lisbon patriarch of the diocesan center, Policarpo led people to believe that the matter of women priests had not been settled at all and that what was needed, was a period of maturing of the communities and the Church, since today the idea of “women carrying out duties that were unthinkable thirty years ago is now accepted within the Church.” (Notice phrasing: Policarpo led people to believe.....)
On May 2003, in Vienna, the cardinal responded in a similar fashion to a question during a press conference in which mention was made to a letter sent by Pope John Paul II in 1994 and the Congregation’s subsequent clarification of the Doctrine of the Faith. Policarpo explained that in his opinion the matter “is not settled that way; from a theological point of view, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let’s call it that way... it was never done any other way”. In that same interview, the Lisbon patriarch stated that at the present time it was not appropriate to raise the issue because it would have triggered “a series of reactions,” but he concluded saying that “If God wishes it to happen, and if it God’s plan, it will happen.”
The document of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to which reference is made, was the answer to a doubt published by the former Holy Office (at the time led by cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who had archbishop Tarcisio Bertone as his right hand). It asked if “the doctrine, according to which, the Church cannot ordain women priests, as proposed in the apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis” had to be “deemed definitive” and “part of the deposit of faith.” The answer, approved by Pope Wojtyla, was “affirmative.” The Congregation at the time explained that “this doctrine requires a permanent confirmation because, based God’s Word, written and constantly kept and applied in the Tradition of the Church since its origins, it was infallibly proposed by the ordinary and universal teachings of the Church” and thus, “it must be followed always, everywhere and by every faithful person, since it belongs to the deposit of faith. (I can't wait until the Vatican updates the Nicene Creed to include this gem in our deposit of faith. That would certainly stop all the talk about women's ordination.)
Bishop Lopez will undoubtedly receive a very different reception when he makes his trip to the woodshed. In his case Chaput's CNA Spanish affiliate has combined with Life Site news to lead the charge against Lopez, and it doesn't appear anyone holds more sway in the Vatican right now that Chaput. Why would Lopez all of a sudden merit such a spot light from two North American Catholic propaganda outlets? The answer more likely lies in Ruiz's stances on social justice and his avid support for married deacons than it does on his support for gay dignity in the church or the decriminalization of abortion. Hence, we have this from the Vat Insider article:
He remained close to the poor ever since his work in Ciudad Altamirano, where he became priest in 1988. In 1995 he became one of Samuel Ruiz’s (bishop of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas at the time) possible successors. On 14 August 1995, the Pope appointed him coadjutor bishop with the right to succession. (Samuel Ruiz was another Mexican bishop beloved by his people but not so much the JPII Vatican.)
He finally settled in Southwest Mexico in 1994, when the Country was still under the influence of the guerrilla movement of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Zapatista Army of National Liberation). By appointing him, the Vatican wanted to achieve the quick replacement of Samuel Ruiz and to pull the reins in on the indigenous theology project in Mexico which was at its peak at the time. This was about the time that the Vatican began to show its concern.
But the attempt failed. Not long after his arrival in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Vera became one of the most radical defenders of the actions of permanent married deacons (as substitutes of presbyters) and of the diffusion of what Rome calls the “Diaconal Church”. The Vatican saw this as an organised attempt to do away with clerical celibacy. (Again another glaring example of how the all male celibate priesthood is more important than Jesus Christ Himself. Sure does make one wonder why?)
This change forced the Apostolic See to appoint him Bishop of Saltillo (on 30 December 1999), before confirming his succession of Samuel Ruiz who was replaced by Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel.
Vera’s appointment, however, did not put an end his social demands. He used his position to defend exploited mineworkers and the needs of the families of individuals who had disappeared, mostly because of drug traffickers.
Furthermore, Raúl Vera applied the pastoral care model of San Cristóbal to Saltillo, widely promoting the ordination of permanent married deacons who according to him “are able to perform the work of priests in the most remote communities.” His incessant, quasi political proselytism and his stance with regard to certain matters have not warmly welcomed by Mexico and Rome. (Yes, only right wing 'quasi political proselytism' is permitted.--Try this article by Frank Cocozzelli on Archbishop Chaput.
Vatican Insider is an interesting read. I am predisposed to think it has plenty of Opus Dei money behind it. It has a most definite political slant. Couple this with the seeming unending influence of Archbishop Chaput in global Catholic affairs and I can't help but wonder who really is running Roman Catholicism.
Lately, Benedict's papacy is beginning to look a great deal like JPII's papacy, and I'm not talking liturgically and theologically. I see those as fog for another agenda. For some reason it is critically important for the real power in the Vatican to maintain an all male celibate priesthood with a large percentage of closeted gays. It's way too obvious that the quickest way to get to the woodshed is by advocating, even gently advocating, positions which threaten the celibate priesthood or the position of gays in the Church. Forget sexual abuse, our worst criminal enabling bishops are either in the Vatican curia or free to wander the globe with no accountability to anyone. If the people of Ireland are curious as to the where abouts of Cloyne's Bishop Magee, they should reflect on the anonymous cushy lifestyle lived in his later years by American Archbishop Marcinkus. He of the Banko Ambrosia scandal.
Yesterday I wrote the current version of the clerical system is spiritually bankrupt. Actually it appears more and more as if it's running a serious deficit and has no desire to impose a debt ceiling. Maybe because it's real energy is locked up in the same financial morass that is taking down Western economies. That would be the energy of unfettered greed, not spiritual holiness.