“Vatican Taking Action In Divisive Paraguay Diocese Where Top Priest Was Removed” & related articles

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Pope Francis is taking action in a divisive diocese in Paraguay where an Argentine priest, accused by a former superior of being a “serious threat to young people,” has been removed as the No. 2.

The Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity is still an active priest in the Ciudad del Este diocese, however, in a sign that he remains in good standing with his bishop.

Urrutigoity has denied allegations of impropriety, has never been charged and his bishop, Monsignor Rogelio Livieres, has stressed that there is no accusation against him that he sexually abused minors. But Urrutigoity’s case re-emerged after Francis sent a team of Vatican investigators to the diocese this month to look into criticisms against Livieres by other Paraguayan prelates.

Livieres in 2005 allowed Urrutigoity to join his diocese, even though Urrutigoity’s then-superior in Scranton, Pennsylvania had warned Livieres and the Vatican that he was a threat and unsuitable for the priesthood.

Urrutigoity had been a member of the schismatic, traditionalist Society of St. Pius X. He later joined the Scranton diocese and founded a priestly society where the old Latin Mass was celebrated.

In 2004, though, Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino suppressed the society, citing financial instability and allegations of sexual misconduct against Urrutigoity.

Urrutigoity’s subsequent re-emergence in Paraguay was documented by the online resource BishopAccountability.org and the Global Post.

In a statement Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman confirmed that Livieres had removed Urrutigoity as vicar general on July 14, a few days before the Vatican investigators arrived, but that he was doing other jobs.

Lombardi also said that as a preliminary result of the Vatican probe, priestly ordinations in the diocese had been suspended.

Livieres, who is a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement, has defended his establishment of a new seminary and boasted about his record in finding new priestly vocations.

He has been in a public spat with the archbishop of Asuncion in what appears to be an ideologically-driven dispute over the training of priests and the spiritual direction of Paraguay’s church.

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Vatican suspends priestly ordinations in scandal-hit diocese

The Tablet

30 July 2014 12:52

by Liz Dodd

The Vatican has warned a Paraguayan bishop not to carry out any ordinations to the priesthood in a diocese in which its vicar-general has been accused of sexual abuse while working in the US.

The Church has not given an official reason for the ban on ordinations in Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano’s diocese of Ciudad del Este.

A week-long Vatican investigation into the diocese led by Spanish Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello ended on Saturday.

The investigation followed allegations that the diocese’s vicar-general, Argentine priest Fr Carlos Urrutigoity, had abused seminarians in Minnesota and Pennsylvania more than a decade ago.

Fr Urrotigoity denies the allegations.

He was reportedly removed from his post earlier this month at the request of the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Eliseo Ariotti.

Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said Fr Urrutigoity had been “relieved of his duties” as vicar-general by Bishop Livieres on 14 July, “a few days before the visitation, on the grounds of the completion of other duties on his part”.

Bishop Livieres has defended Urrotigoity in the past.

Earlier this year a statement from the US diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, said that Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano had been warned that the priest posed “a serious threat to young people” and cautioned him “to not allow Fr Urrutigoity to incardinate into his diocese”.

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Vatican confirms suspension of ordinations in troubled Paraguay diocese

Catholic World News

30  July 2014

The Vatican has confirmed that all priestly ordinations have been suspended in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, after a Vatican investigation of the diocese.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters that Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, who headed the Vatican investigation, was reporting his findings to Pope Francis. The Vatican spokesman said:

I can confirm that in the course of the visitation, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló cautioned Bishop Livieres against proceeding with further priestly ordinations. No other provisions were announced.

The Vatican investigation came after complaints that arose when it was revealed that Father Carlos Urrutigoity, who had been accused of sexual abuse while serving in the US, was acting as vicar general of the Ciudad del Este diocese. Father Urrutigoity was removed from that post shortly before the investigation formally began. However, he remains an active priest in the Paraguayan diocese, where officials note that the accusations against him have never been proven.

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Vatican taking action in divisive Paraguay diocese

SunHerald.com

July 30, 2014

Associated Press

— Pope Francis is taking action in a divisive diocese in Paraguay where an Argentine priest, accused by a former superior of being a “serious threat to young people,” has been removed as the No. 2.

The Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity is still an active priest in the Ciudad del Este diocese, however, in a sign that he remains in good standing with his bishop.

Urrutigoity has denied allegations of impropriety and has never been charged, and his bishop, Monsignor Rogelio Livieres, has stressed that there is no accusation against him that he sexually abused minors. But Urrutigoity’s case re-emerged after Francis sent a team of Vatican investigators to the diocese this month to look into criticisms against Livieres by local residents and other Paraguayan prelates.

Livieres in 2005 allowed Urrutigoity to join his diocese, even though Urrutigoity’s then-superior in Pennsylvania had warned Livieres and the Vatican that he was a threat and unsuitable for the priesthood.

Urrutigoity had been a member of the schismatic, traditionalist Society of St. Pius X. He later joined the Scranton diocese in Pennsylvania and founded a priestly society where the old Latin Mass was celebrated.

In 2004, though, Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino suppressed the society, citing financial instability and allegations of sexual misconduct against Urrutigoity.

Urrutigoity’s subsequent re-emergence in Paraguay was documented by the online resource BishopAccountability.org and the Global Post.

In a statement Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that Livieres had removed Urrutigoity as vicar general on July 14, a few days before the Vatican investigators arrived, but that he was doing other jobs.

Lombardi also said that as a preliminary result of the Vatican probe, priestly ordinations in the diocese had been suspended.

Livieres, who is a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement, has defended his establishment of a new seminary and boasted about his record in finding new priestly vocations. But he has also acknowledged that other Paraguayan prelates have opposed his initiatives, apparently the primary reason for the Vatican investigation.

He has been in a public spat with the archbishop of Asuncion in what appears to be an ideologically driven dispute over the training of priests and the spiritual direction of Paraguay’s church.

In a statement Wednesday, BishopAccountability’s Anne Barrett Doyle said Livieres should be punished beyond just having his ordinations suspended for having willingly ignored the warnings of the Scranton bishop about Urrutigoity.

Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield

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Priest accused of molesting St. Gregory’s students removed from Paraguay post

standardspeaker.com

Published: July 29, 2014

A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting students at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst in 2002, and then recently landing a powerful position in a diocese in Paraguay, has been removed from his post by Vatican envoys.

The news came shortly after a visit from a delegation of Vatican officials to the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, that the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity was relieved of his duties as vicar general of the diocese, according to media reports in South America.

The matter of the Rev. Urrutigoity erupted again in June, after a GlobalPost investigative story that prompted a feud between Paraguay’s two most powerful bishops over the status of the controversial priest amid mounting international and local calls for his removal.

Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera penned a letter to Vatican administrators in the spring expressing concerns about the Rev. Urrutigoity’s rise in the ranks. Local Roman Catholic officials say they have not received official word about the priest’s status in Paraguay.

“Considering Father Urrutigoity’s troubling history in the Diocese of Scranton and the fact that warnings regarding his suitability for ministry have not been heeded, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., continues to have grave concerns,” read a Diocese of Scranton statement provided Monday.

The move was welcome by watchdog groups.

“We are glad that this has been done but it should have happened months ago and he should never have been put back on the job, much less won a promotion,” said David Clohessy, of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP.

The Rev. Urrutigoity’s case highlights the Roman Catholic Church’s difficulty in removing a potentially dangerous priest from service. It is a problem that has frustrated the current and former bishops of the Scranton diocese, who attempted to warn Rogelio Livieres, the bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, of the Rev. Urrutigoity’s troubled history. Bishops have no authority outside their own diocese.

Bishop Livieres consistently defended the Rev. Urrutigoity against all critics, even a neighboring Archbishop.

The Archbishop of Asuncion, Eustaquio Pastor Cuquejo, called for a new investigation into the Rev. Urrutigoity. Bishop Livieres was so outraged that he claimed at a public rally that Archbishop Cuquejo was nearly removed from the church five years ago for homosexual behavior, calling him “a bad person” who shouldn’t “throw stones.” Paraguay’s chief prosecutor for youth began an investigation into the Rev. Urrutigoity last month. Pope Francis’ delegation arrived July 21.

Pope Francis also suspended ordination of priests and deacons in the Diocese of Cuidad del Este, pending findings of his team.

Accusations have dogged the Rev. Urrutigoity, who is originally from Argentina. He was asked to leave a seminary in Argentina for unknown reasons and given a “second chance” at a seminary in Winona, Minnesota, where he was accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a young seminarian.

He then moved to the Diocese of Scranton, where the accusation took the form of a civil suit from former St. Gregory’s students. Then Bishop James Timlin suspended the Rev. Urrutigoity and the other priest mentioned in the suit, the Rev. Eric Ensey.

The Diocese of Scranton, a named party in the lawsuit, settled the case in 2004, for more than $400,000.

While the statute of limitation had expired on the abuse claims, leaving the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office unable to investigate or prosecute, the allegations were serious enough to prompt Bishop Timlin’s successor, Bishop Joseph Martino, to officially suppress the Society of St. John, the priestly order that operated St. Gregory’s. Soon after that the Rev. Urrutigoity found his way to the Diocese of Ciudad del Este. The Diocese of Scranton later claimed Bishop Martino personally communicated with Bishop Livieres, calling the Rev. Urrutigoity “a serious threat to young people.”

The Rev. Urrutigoity moved up to the ranks, becoming diocesan vicar general, essentially the second in command, earlier this year. That prompted Bishop Bambera to share his concerns with Vatican administrators.

In a recent short interview recorded by GlobalPost on video after a service, the Rev. Urrutigoity was asked about the warnings issued from the Scranton chancery. He said the bishops of Scranton are trying to insulate themselves from legal actions, lawsuits and “hysteria” over priest abuse in the United States.

dfalchek@timesshamrock.com

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Papal delegation suspends ordinations in Paraguay diocese

CNA  Catholic News Agency

29 July 2014

.- An apostolic visitation of Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este diocese concluded on Saturday with the visitors suspending a scheduled ordination until they have reached conclusions about their investigation.

“For the time, priestly and diaconal ordinations for the students of St. Joseph’s Major Seminary are suspended and it is unknown how long this will endure – it can only be revealed by the Pope,” Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, who led the apostolic visitation, said at a July 26 press conference.

The diocese was scheduled to have priestly ordinations Aug. 15. A release from the diocese clarified that “the ordinations of Aug. 15 have been suspended until the conclusion (of the visitation), not canceled.”

While the visitation took place July 21-26, Cardinal Abril y Castello and Bishop Milton Troccoli Cebedio – who assisted the cardinal in the investigation – will return to Rome to arrange the data collected and present it to Pope Francis.

The conclusion has not yet been scheduled, but is anticipated in September. The apostolic visitation of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este was announced by the apostolic nuncio to Paraguay July 2.

Since 2004 the diocese has been led by Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, who was ordained a priest of Opus Dei in 1978.

Soon after coming to the diocese, Bishop Livieres opened a major seminary for his diocese, in light of the shortage of priestly vocations, and he has been closely involved in promoting.

More than 60 priests have been ordained in the past 10 years from St. Joseph’s Major Seminary. According to Italian daily La Stampa, the seminary has “cut the period of priestly formation to only four years, citing the urgent need for new priests.”

Because of this success, in 2012 the diocese opened the St. Andrew Minor Seminary, as well as the St. Irenaeus of Lyons Institute of Priestly Formation.

According to a statement on the diocese’s website, the Paraguyan bishops “resisted” Bishop Livieres’ new seminaries because they would “break the monolithic scheme of priestly formation” held by the national seminary.

The Diocese of Ciudad del Este has received attention because Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity, who was until earlier this month its vicar general, has a history of sexual abuse accusations.

The Argentine native served in the Diocese of Scranton from the late 1990s until 2002, when a highly publicized lawsuit accused him of sexual misconduct involving minors at the now-closed St. Gregory’s Academy.

According to the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, the supposed accusations are mere calumny made by Fr. Urrutigoity’s detractors, his “ideological persecutors.”

Concluding its statement about the apostolic visitation, the diocese wrote that “the growth and strength of the People of God in Paraguay was cruelly mutilated following the unjust trial and suppression of the Jesuit missionaries at the end of the 18th century. They also were accused by questionable ecclesiastics in alliance with powerful lobbies and politicians.”

“Those who bet that history will repeat itself in our diocese may be surprised to find that, at this time, the Bishop of Rome is an heir of those Jesuits, slandered and suppressed, disposed to write history in a new way.”

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Papal delegation suspends ordinations in Paraguay diocese
Priests. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno.

Priests. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno.

.- An apostolic visitation of Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este diocese concluded on Saturday with the visitors suspending a scheduled ordination until they have reached conclusions about their investigation.

“For the time, priestly and diaconal ordinations for the students of St. Joseph’s Major Seminary are suspended and it is unknown how long this will endure – it can only be revealed by the Pope,” Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, who led the apostolic visitation, said at a July 26 press conference.

The diocese was scheduled to have priestly ordinations Aug. 15. A release from the diocese clarified that “the ordinations of Aug. 15 have been suspended until the conclusion (of the visitation), not canceled.”

While the visitation took place July 21-26, Cardinal Abril y Castello and Bishop Milton Troccoli Cebedio – who assisted the cardinal in the investigation – will return to Rome to arrange the data collected and present it to Pope Francis.

The conclusion has not yet been scheduled, but is anticipated in September. The apostolic visitation of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este was announced by the apostolic nuncio to Paraguay July 2.

Since 2004 the diocese has been led by Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, who was ordained a priest of Opus Dei in 1978.

Soon after coming to the diocese, Bishop Livieres opened a major seminary for his diocese, in light of the shortage of priestly vocations, and he has been closely involved in promoting.

More than 60 priests have been ordained in the past 10 years from St. Joseph’s Major Seminary. According to Italian daily La Stampa, the seminary has “cut the period of priestly formation to only four years, citing the urgent need for new priests.”

Because of this success, in 2012 the diocese opened the St. Andrew Minor Seminary, as well as the St. Irenaeus of Lyons Institute of Priestly Formation.

According to a statement on the diocese’s website, the Paraguyan bishops “resisted” Bishop Livieres’ new seminaries because they would “break the monolithic scheme of priestly formation” held by the national seminary.

The Diocese of Ciudad del Este has received attention because Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity, who was until earlier this month its vicar general, has a history of sexual abuse accusations.

The Argentine native served in the Diocese of Scranton from the late 1990s until 2002, when a highly publicized lawsuit accused him of sexual misconduct involving minors at the now-closed St. Gregory’s Academy.

According to the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, the supposed accusations are mere calumny made by Fr. Urrutigoity’s detractors, his “ideological persecutors.”

Concluding its statement about the apostolic visitation, the diocese wrote that “the growth and strength of the People of God in Paraguay was cruelly mutilated following the unjust trial and suppression of the Jesuit missionaries at the end of the 18th century. They also were accused by questionable ecclesiastics in alliance with powerful lobbies and politicians.”

“Those who bet that history will repeat itself in our diocese may be surprised to find that, at this time, the Bishop of Rome is an heir of those Jesuits, slandered and suppressed, disposed to write history in a new way.”

more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/07/30/5720909/vatican-taking-action-in-divisive.html#storylink=cpy

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