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Catholic World News News Feature

Mexican Bishop Refuses To Resign From Diocese October 09, 1998

MEXICO CITY (CWNews.com) - Bishop Arturo Lona Reyes of Tehuantepec, Mexico refused to resign from his diocese as specified by Catholic canon law this week, saying the request for his resignation stems from his beliefs in Liberation theology.

Bishop Lona Reyes said that Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Justo Mullor called him to Mexico City and asked him to submit his resignation from the diocese he has served for 27 years as required by canon law upon reaching 75 years old. The bishop said the request was politically motivated. In 1986, Bishop Lona Reyes was summoned to the Vatican to answer an accusation by then-papal nuncio Archbishop Jeronimo Prigione, who said Bishop Lona Reyes had not submitted official reports since 1971.

Lona Reyes said Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Prigione tried to replace all of Mexico's bishops who support Liberation Theology, which advocates economic and political freedom to ensure spiritual freedom, including 86 out of 100 Mexican bishops. "I have been putting up with humiliating behavior from these people for 27 years, then they suddenly requested my resignation, but I did not agree. I will not resign. It would be like betraying my people, the priests, and nuns, the women, men, young people, and children," he said.

Archbishop-emeritus Bartolome Carrasco of Oaxaca called on all of Mexico's bishops to support Bishop Lona Reyes in his fight to remain. Archbishop Carrasco said the pressure exerted on Bishop Lona Reyes represented an attempt to turn back the clock to the times when the Church was a purely hierarchical institution with no participation.

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