Paraguayan bishop’s ‘very violent’ reaction helps explain removal, says papal spokesman
September 29, 2014
Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, who was removed from his post in Paraguay, has issued a bitter complaint, charging that other bishops conspired against him and saying that Pope Francis “must answer to God” for his removal.
The deposed bishop, in a letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, said that he was being “persecuted” for his orthodoxy, and complained that he had not been given an opportunity to defend himself.
The bishop’s letter, which was leaked to the media in Paraguay, said that the action against him was “unfounded and arbitrary.” He angrily charged that although Pope Francis has spoken often about “dialogue, mercy, openness, decentralization, and respect for authority of the local churches,” he did not give Bishop Livieres a chance to “clarify any doubts” about his ministry.
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, observed that the bishop’s letter was “a very violent reaction.” He remarked to reporters: “Maybe it is easier to understand why there was a problem.”
Father Lombardi had earlier said that Bishop Livieres had been removed from office because of his discordant relations with the other bishops of Paraguay. Most observers have agreed that the case pivoted on the bishop’s decision to promote a priest who had been characterized by an American diocese (Scranton, Pennsylvania) as a danger to children.
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