Pope sacks bishop in Paraguay for promoting alleged pedophile priest

A Vatican statement said the removal of Rogelio Livieres Plano was made for ‘serious pastoral reasons’

 Pope Francis First

Vatican City:

Pope Francis on Thursday sacked a Paraguayan bishop accused of protecting and promoting a priest described by his former church superiors in the United States as “a serious threat to young people”.

In a statement, the Vatican said the removal of Ciudad del Este Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano had been a “painful decision taken for serious pastoral reasons”.

There was no mention of the precise circumstances behind the dismissal of the conservative bishop, as opposed to the more customary acceptance of his resignation.

The move follows a visit to Paraguay by senior Vatican officials charged with investigating a case that had led to a public war of words between the South American country’s senior clerics.

“This grave decision of the Holy See was taken for serious pastoral reasons and was motivated by the greater good of unity in the church of Ciudad del Este and the episcopal communion in Paraguay,” the Vatican statement said.

Livieres had been publicly attacked by his colleagues in Paraguay for his sponsorship of an Argentinian-born priest who was removed from his parish in the US state of Pennsylvania in 2002 following a civil suit over the alleged abuse of boys in his pastoral care.

The Church reportedly settled the suit in 2006 with a payment of US$400,000.

The priest, Carlos Urrotigoity, was sent to Canada for psychological assessment. According to US media reports, the assessment concluded that the priest was “locked into” a sexual attraction to male minors, that he should be banned from the ministry and that he should have no contact with young people.

Despite that verdict, Urrotigoity was able to resume his Church career. He moved to Paraguay in 2004 and has prospered there under the wing of Livieres, who is thought to be a member of the conservative Opus Dei sect.

In February of this year, Urrotigoity was named as Livieres’s vicar-general, the number two in the diocese and the official with responsiblity for investigating allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour by priests.

In the United States, Urrotigoity came under the authority of the Bishop of Scranton.

Earlier this year the Scranton diocese posted a statement on its website in which it said that the then-bishop Joseph Martino had warned everyone concerned about the danger posed by the Argentinian priest, including the papal ambassadors in the United States and Paraguay.

“In every instance, Bishop Martino clearly expressed his reservations concerning Father Urrutigoity, who was identified as posing a serious threat to young people.”

Publicity surrounding the case triggered a spat within the Paraguyan church hierarchy. When the Archbishop of Asuncion demanded that Urrutigoity be removed, Livieres responded by calling the senior cleric “a homosexual”.

Alarmed, the Vatican in July banned Livieres from ordaining priests and ordered him to remove Urrutigoity from his position.

The Church is sensitive to charges, levied by both the United Nations and thousands of abuse victims, that, for years, it instinctively protected serial sex offenders within the clergy.

US-based victims advocacy group SNAP questioned the Vatican’s failure to explain clearly the reasons for Thursday’s dismissal.

“For perhaps the first time ever, the Vatican has punished a bishop, who protected and promoted a credibly accused sex offender cleric,” SNAP’s Barbara Dorris wrote in an email.

“The trouble is no one is sure that’s why Ciudad del Este’s bishop is being punished. But a corrupt bishop’s removal beats a corrupt bishop’s resignation.”

The Vatican insists that, under Francis’s leadership, it has acted to root out behaviour the pontiff has described as akin to a “Satanic Mass”.

In a move sanctioned by Francis, Polish cleric Jozef Wesolowski was this week placed under house arrest pending an unprecedented trial under Vatican law for the sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography.

Former archbishop Wesolowski, 65, was defrocked in June after a Church tribunal found that he had abused minors during his 2008-13 stint as the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Church tribunals have resulted in the defrocking of nearly 850 priest for sex abuse in the last decade, during which time hundreds of millions have been paid to settle compensation claims by victims of abuse.

Source: AFP/UCAN

MAHARASHTRA SWARAJ PARTY’S Relevance in the context of Shift of Church in Mumbai, from SECULARISM To GOOD GOVERNANCE: Will Christians Change their stand too?

Elections for Maharashtra Assembly are round the corner and media is abuzz with stories; some credible ones and others not so credible. Combinations are mending and Combinations are bending and breaking. Parties are backing out and new ones are coming on the Horizon. It is not so news worthy because these things do keep happening during elections.


MSP - Online Promotion Slides

What is news worthy at this juncture is formation of new Political Outfit, MAHARASHTRA SWARAJ PARTY (MSP). News worthiness of MSP can be gauged by the misunderstanding that is being spread in the Print Media as well as on social Media that the Party is only for Christians and particularly EAST INDIANS,  which is not true. By default, the activist who have been instrumental in creation of MSP are Christians, the community that has been left in the lurch by mainstream Political Parties just because their  numbers do not count. The CONGRESS,  for whom the community traditionally  been voting since independence, believing  in its SECULAR credentials has not remained secular any more. Besides, it has used the community’s votes to come to power and abused them by not allowing  a Political space in mainstream Politics.

Community  now, has woken up to this fact and  has decided to carve a space into politics  with formation of MAHARASHTRA SWARAJ PARTY. Community members now need to realise that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We are not going to live in the shadow of any party anymore but have our own MSP..Though it is floated by Christians, Members of other communities, Majority or minority, who are fed up with present state of political affairs and looking for Change are welcome..Therefore, please remove misconception from your mind that MSP is for Christians only.

Since MSP is still not registered as Political Party, its Candidates will be contesting as Independants; supported by MAHARASHTRA SWARAJ PARTY (MSP)… WE CALL UPON MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY, irrespective of their regional allegiances. Goans, Mangalorians, East Indians, Tamil, Keralites including other Minorities who have a feeling of being left out and being denied of Political space are requested to VOTE for the  INDEPEDANT CANDIDATE SUPPORTED BY MAHARASHTRA SWARAJ PARTY (MSP) and help bring in much desired change.

Even the Church has now deviated from its usual norm of  asking community members to vote for SECULAR OUTFIT. Church is now asking to Vote for GOOD GOVERNANCE, as per following media report. We have all seen, what kind of Good Governance these Parties have given us all these years…




whichever party or candidate people choose to vote for, I exhort them to cast their vote.

Cardinal Gracias (Photo courtesy: gettyimages)


Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai, says he want catholics in Maharashtra to vote for “good governance” in the upcoming state elections.

“We will appeal to voters to vote for good governance. India, and Mumbai of course, needs a government that promises inclusive growth, one that takes care of everybody,” the cardinal told Times of India.
“Yet, whichever party or candidate people choose to vote for, I exhort them to cast their vote,” Cardinal Gracias said.

Catholics have traditionally supported Congress party and Church leaders have in earlier occasions urged to vote for a secular party, which media interpreted as veiled support for Congress.

The Cardinal’s call to vote for good governance is also seen as deviation from the traditional path as the Catholics in the city have taken firm political decisions, including to contest the polls as independent candidates.

East Indian community in the city has announced plans to contest the forthcoming assembly elections. Although they have formed a political party of their own named Maharashtra Swaraj Party (MSP) a few days ago, they will have to fight as independent candidates because the new outfit is yet to be registered, Times of India reported.

Civic activist Ashish Fernandes will contest from Dahisar while Andheri (East) will see Jancy Varghese join the fight. Prominent advocate Godfrey Pimenta, who is the trustee of the Watchdog Foundation, will stand from Vile Parle and his counterpart in Kalina is advocate Vivian D’souza.

D’souza is president of the Bombay East Indian Association. Advocate Shane Cardoz hopes to be elected in Bandra (West). All these social activists are contesting seats which have a sizeable population of East Indians.

However, this will likely fragment the Christian vote in Mumbai, which traditionally supported Congress.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha election, some priests made a slight diversion towards the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) saying the Congress had done precious little for Christians through the years.

However, since AAP is not fighting the assembly elections, the Christian vote will go divided between independent and Congress candidates.

Source: Times of India

Islamic State has destroyed the “Green Church”, a symbol of the Christian roots of Iraq

The famed “Green Church” in Tikrit, Iraq was reduced to ashes. Militants from the Islamic State surrounded the church with explosives and detonated.  The church was a historical monument that was built 700 years after Christ. The militants are scorching the Christian roots of the Middle East.
At the same time, the constant stream of refugees continues to grow and the humanitarian crisis is multiplying.
Turkey is now receiving thousands of displaced people. The country opened its borders to allow more than 130,000 refugees escaping the violence.
“It is the biggest influx that Turkey has seen so far, and the needs are urgent and so big, most of them are women and children. We are trying to do as much as we can co-ordinating with the officials here but it is really not enough”.
The refugees carry the few belongings they were able to salvage before fleeing the fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish soldiers.
They made the journey in exhausting conditions. This woman and 16 of her relatives were able to reach the border safe and sound. Although 8 months pregnant, she carried a baby in her arms.
Syrian Refugee
“We were all terrified and we fled our houses because of the bombs. Every night we would come and sleep here at the border and then go back to our houses a bit in the morning, all our children are sick, what can we do? May God help us.”
Recently, the Islamic State has taken over more than 60 cities in northern Syria, close to the Turkish border.
Pope Francis will be traveling to Turkey from November 29th – 30th  where the Chaldean Christian community has experienced a notable growth with the arrival of thousands of Iraqi refugees.

Former nuncio accused of sex abuse put under house arrest

Jozef Wesolowski to be remanded at the Vatican while awaiting a criminal trial.

Vatican City:

The Vatican has placed a laicized papal ambassador under house arrest as he awaits a criminal trial for sexually abusing young boys.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, released a statement Tuesday regarding the case of former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who served as nuncio to the Dominican Republic until August 2013.

The Vatican announced in June that a canonical court had investigated Wesolowski on charges of sex abuse in the Dominican Republic and concluded by dismissing him from the clerical state, depriving him of all rights and duties associated with being a priest except the obligation of celibacy. Wesolowski would face a criminal trial under the laws of Vatican City State, the Vatican said at the time.

On Tuesday, Father Lombardi said that a Vatican prosecutor had summoned Wesolowski and informed him of the charges against him.

Because of the “gravity of the accusations,” investigators decided to arrest the former ambassador, Father Lombardi said, but “in light of the medical condition of the accused, supported by medical documentation,” he was placed under house arrest in Vatican City.

Source: Catholic News Service

Bishops want India’s official delegation for canonization


Around 1,500 people from Kerala are expected to attend the canonization ceremony in the Vatican at their personal level.


Kerala bishops have decided to request the federal and state governments to send official delegations to the Vatican to attend the canonization ceremony of two saintly Catholics from Kerala on Nov. 23.

The Kerala Catholic Bishop Council has approached governments requesting official delegation to attend the canonization of Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sr Euphrasia Eluvathinkal, Church officials said.

“We have requested the governments to send a delegation. But the KCBC has not nominated anyone to be included in the government delegation. We expect the government would accept KCBC’s request,” KCBC deputy secretary Fr Varghese Vallikkattu said.

Around 1,500 people from Kerala are expected to attend the canonization ceremony in the Vatican at their personal level.

A dedicated cell has been also been opened by the Chavara Cultural Centre in Kochi in association with a private tour operator to coordinate and assist the pilgrims who want to participate in the ceremony.

Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara was a social reformer, publisher, educator and founder of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the first Catholic indigenous religious order for men in India.

He was born near Alappuzha in 1805 and died at Koonammavu, Kochi, in 1871. Mother Euphrasia was a member of the order of the Sisters of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel, founded by Blessed Chavara.

Source: New Indian Express

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