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Suspended priest, claiming episcopal ordination, causes confusion in Arizona, diocese says

April 25, 2014

The Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona has issued a public warning about a suspended priest, who has set up his own congregation and claimed ordination as a bishop of the schismatic Old Independent Catholic Church.

Father Julio Alberto Higuera, who was a priest of the Diocese of Culiacan in Mexico, was suspended from ministry in 2002, after he was charged with defrauding parishioners in Phoenix. He reportedly solicited money from undocumented immigrants, saying that he could help them gain legal residency in the US.

The Mexican cleric now identifies himself as a bishop of the Old Independent Catholic Church. "The validity of Reverend Higuera's consecration as a bishop is highly questionable," the statement from the Phoenix diocese observed, adding that his episcopal consecration was not authorized by Pope Francis.

The Phoenix diocese, noting with regret that Father Higuera's activities were confusing to the faithful, said that Catholics should not attend his services or support his work.


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