Puerto Rican bishop removed by pope feels ‘blessed to suffer persecution’

David Ramos   By David Ramos for CNA

 

Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres / Diocese of Arecibo

Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Mar 9, 2022 / 11:39 am (CNA).

Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres, who was relieved Wednesday of his office as Bishop of Arecibo, said that he feels “blessed to suffer persecution and calumny.”

In a letter published on the Diocese of Arecibos’ website shortly after the Holy See Press Office announced the Pope’s decision, Bishop Fernández Torres, 57, stated that “today I can hold my head high and even being imperfect and sinful, know that I have done the right thing and that gives me a lot of inner peace.”

The bishop stressed that this experience “has helped me realize in a new way the grave responsibility that all bishops have in the government of the Church, which is apostolic and not pyramidal, synodal and not autocratic.”

“I think that for quite some time many bishops have been watching with concern what is happening in the Church and we have resisted believing what is happening. Today more than ever we must remember our calling to be prophets,” he noted.

“These are difficult times, but let’s not lose hope,” he said.

Bishop Fernández Torres was relieved of the pastoral care of his diocese March 9. The Holy See gave no reason for the decision. Bishop Álvaro Corrada del Río, S.J., Bishop Emeritus of Mayagüez, was appointed Apostolic Administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.

The removed bishop had initially resisted sending his seminarians to the Interdiocesan Seminary of Puerto Rico, approved by the Vatican in March 2020.

He had also supported conscientious objection to compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 in an August 2021 statement.

In his letter, the Bishop Emeritus of Arecibo expressed his joy at “how much we have been able to do together in the Diocese of Arecibo, in these almost twelve years, in youth and vocational ministry, in the fight for the dignity of human love, family and respect for life.”

In addition, he highlighted the work done for “the freedom of the Church against political interference, in the formation of holy priests and in having given a ‘House’ to the Virgin in our diocesan Shrine.”

“If for trying to be faithful to God I am replaced in office, it’s worth it, because as a bishop I can be useful to the Church with my own witness,” he said.

Towards the end of his message Bishop Fernández Torres reiterated his “communion in the Catholic faith, with the Pope and my brothers in the episcopate, despite my perplexity at an incomprehensible arbitrariness.”

“And if, from now on, I can be of any service to you, I declare my complete availability,” he said.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Catholic News Agency 4400 Articles
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

8 Comments

  1. “The Holy See gave no reason for the decision.”

    Is it just me, or does this seem a tad high-handed?

    Doesn’t the Holy Father owe the Diocese of Arecibo an explanation? Is Bishop Torres a danger to his flock in any way?

    And what are his fellow bishops supposed to read into his removal?

    For a papacy that claims to be all about the synodality of synodality, taking such an action in a virtual vacuum appears altogether centralized and authoritarian.

    It certainly seems that the Church — as, indeed, the world — is at a hugely consequential inflection point.

    • No, it’s not just you.

      To the new disoriented clericalist elites, the Church is their centrally managed corporation, and they all work as regional managers for “the bouncer-in-charge” Pontiff Francis.

  2. “I think that for quite some time many bishops have been watching with concern what is happening in the Church and we have resisted believing what is happening. Today more than ever we must remember our calling to be prophets” (Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres).
    When faithful priests and bishops are persecuted by the Church we know something is terribly amiss. That a bishop seeking to safeguard his seminarians, affirming conscientious refusal of vaxx by member of his fold is censured and removed, while elsewhere Catholics are permitted license by bishops to receive the Eucharist when living in adultery and same sex relationships.
    Are we approaching perhaps that final test of our faith? Men like Bishop Torres whatever transpires forge the path for us.

    • Blessings of peace and ever increasing wisdom.

      Man is known by what he says and how he acts. Thank God for Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres and others of his ilk.

      Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

      Psalm 27:10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.

      1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

      Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

      2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

      Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

  3. “For a papacy that claims to be all about the synodality of synodality, taking such an action in a virtual vacuum appears altogether centralized and authoritarian.”

    Curious. Bishops like Bill Morris in Australia were ejected from the episcopacy. Rome has always been about centralization and authoritarianism. The people complaining usually are allies, personal or ideological.

    A bishop who refuses to collaborate with fellow bishops on a seminary, who bucks the trend in favor of public health and safety–that seems like more serious reasons than other bishops getting the pink slip.

    • It depends on whose ox is being gored.
      There has to be more to the story than this.
      If being a “traditionalist” and not being “collegial” are the reasons Torres was fired, there are quite a few bishops in the United States whose job would be on the line.
      I think people who understand Spanish and have access to Puerto Rican media may be able to find out more information.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Un évêque destitué par le pape se sent "béni de souffrir de la persécution"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*