Dust up in Paraguay

At Pewsitter, this headline caught my eye:

Accused Scranton priest sent to faithful thriving Paraguayan diocese whose bishop corrects gays and liberation theologists. Vatican investigates. Bishop defends priest. Cardinal suspends bishop then faints.

That sums it up.

Well… not quite.

I have followed only in a distracted way what is going on in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. Some will suggest that the doings there are yet another example of how much Pope Francis hates traditional expressions of Catholicism, wants to destroy Summorum Pontificum, etc. A closer look shows that there are some other factors.

Here is a version from UCANEWS, which gives a swift overview of the situation. See if you can identify in the account, below, the elements of the headline, above.

Vatican suspends ordinations at Paraguayan diocese

The Vatican has suspended priestly ordinations in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, according to multiple media reports. Following an investigation of the diocese led by Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, ordinations have been suspended until Pope Francis resolves difficulties in the diocese, reports indicate. No public announcement has been made about the reason for the action. The Vatican ordered an investigation of the diocese following the revelation that a priest who was accused of sexual abuse while serving in the US was serving as vicar general in Ciudad del Este. That report brought to a head tensions between the diocesan leader, Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, and other bishops in Paraguay, and complaints from lay activists about alleged irregularities in diocesan affairs. The accused priest, Father Carlos Urrotigoity [This guy? Again?]  —who is identified by the Scranton, Pennsylvania diocese as a “serious threat to young people”—was reportedly removed from his post as vicar general earlier this month, at the request of the apostolic nuncio in Paraguay, Archbishop Eliseo Ariotti. However, Bishop Livieres has defended Father Urrotigoity in the past, saying that thc charges against him are unproven. Defenders of Bishop Livieres have argued that the complaints against him have been fueled by liberal ideology. [NO!  How could that be? Urrotigoity aside (please) who could ever imagine attacks from liberals and leftists on traditional Catholicism?  Unthinkable!] They note that Bishop Livieres, a harsh critic of liberation theology and a strong supporter of the traditional liturgy, has led a strong revival of the faith in the Ciudad del Este diocese, pointing to increases in the numbers of priests, church weddings, and baptisms. [A revival of the Faith? In South America?  Anywhere?  Someone must be doing something wrong.  If not, someone still must be doing something wrong.] Cardinal Abril y Castello arrived in Paraguay to begin his investigation on July 21, and met with Bishop Livieres the next day. The busy schedule of the trip took a toll on the Spanish cardinal, and he was briefly hospitalized after fainting on July 24. But his condition was not deemed serious, and he resumed his duties promptly, finishing his week-long visit. Cardinal Abril y Castello —who is the archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, and was recently appointed by Pope Francis to chair the commission of cardinals supervising the Vatican bank—was joined in the investigation by Bishop Milton Troccoli, the auxiliary bishop of Montevideo, Uruguay. As he prepared to return to Rome, Cardinal Abril y Castello urged the faithful in Paraguay to respect the Vatican’s decision and await further announcements. Bishop Livieres said that he would obey directives from Rome, while insisting that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.


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  1. jhayes says:

    The diocesan website has a lot of information on this situation – in 12 chapters.


  2. Wiktor says:

    It seems that Fr. Urrutigoity had an “interesting” past, various web sites dating back to 2001 report him being expelled from SSPX for homosexual behavior.

  3. catholicgauze says:

    Fr. Urrotigoity seems to be bad news. I think there is more to this story than “Liberals are oppressing me.”

  4. VexillaRegis says:

    My head is spinning, have to read it again later.

  5. RJHighland says:

    VexillaRegis, I hear you it doen’t make sense. A priest accused of being a homosexual and a threat to children being defended by a Bishop in Paraguay who is bring tradition back to his dioceses. Fr. Urrotigoity is a man, stated by Wiktor, as being expelled by the SSPX for homosexual behavior. So Fr. Urrotigoity seems like he is drawn to the traditional form of worship but has very serious same sex attraction issues, a true wolf in sheeps clothing. The SSPX is very leary of these type of men because of the damage that they can do not only to the Society but what damage they have done to a tradition group like ICK. The Church as a whole should be as careful in their vetting process as the SSPX. These wolves have done incredible damage to the Church. So something just doesn’t jive here I’m not sure what it is but something is not right. It doesn’t make sense that a traditional leaning bishop would defend a priest that has been described as a threat by two different groups in the Church. There has got to be more to this.

  6. excalibur says:

    Meanwhile, want to make up to $240.00 per day, or up to $7440 per 31 day month (boo! February – boo! 30 day months)? Catholic Charities, in league with Uncle Sam, has a deal for you!

    Perhaps, if he has the time, Father Z can make this a separate thread if he so chooses.


    HOUSTON, Texas–The federal government is in dire need of U.S. citizens willing to house the thousands of illegal immigrants who enter the country each week, and they are willing to pay them to do so.

    The Texas-based nonprofit Catholic Charities is currently seeking out foster families for the migrants, most of whom come from Central America. Ruth Braiser, a spokeswoman for the organization, told Breitbart Texas that foster families can receive monthly payments for housing adult immigrants who are under 23-years-old.

    “Most of our children are 15 to 17-years-old,” she said. “But some stay in our program until they are 22-years-old; if they’re still working on getting their high school diploma, they can stay until they’re that age.”

    The revelation that some of the migrants receiving foster care are adults will likely come as a surprise to many; the mainstream media has largely portrayed the border crisis as involving only children and family units.

    Braiser mentioned that foster families will be paid $40 per day for each migrant they take in from Catholic Charities. The payments are funded by the federal government, as Breitbart Texas previously reported.

    Foster parents have the ability to collect more than $7,400 per month, considering that they can house six immigrants at any given time.

    In addition to daily payments, Braiser said that the illegal immigrants are provided with taxpayer subsidized education, health care, transportation, and an “allowance.” She was not specific about the amount of such an allowance or how often it is administered.

    Many have expressed outrage that instead of being turned away at the border, many illegal aliens are being brought to federal facilities where they receive a slew of taxpayer-subsidized benefits: housing, food, vocational training, English lessons, recreation, and legal counsel. Ultimately, most of the migrants are released onto U.S. soil after promising to show up at an immigration court hearing.

  7. tcreek says:

    Rather than a book written by Cardinals, did the editors of the book take existing Church documents and essays and compile them for this book?

  8. tcreek says:

    Sorry, wrong thread.

  9. Pat says:

    Padre, any comments on the visit of Pope Francis t this other diocese? http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/07/28/pope_has_casual_qa_with_priests_of_caserta/1103586

    [No, since that is not what this entry is about.]

  10. Matt R says:

    So this would explain why Rorate Caeli is defending the visitation into the diocesse. They haven’t gotten around to posting their official editorial position. And I have no reason to object. The priest in question needs to be placed in a life of prayer and penance (that way he’s not released from obedience…).
    I have questions as to why he was allowed to move to South America and continue ministry even after being expelled from the SSPX for relations with another seminarian and then after the incidents in the school run by the FSSP in Scranton (at the time, actually served by Fr. Urrotigoity’s society). But hopefully that will be dealt with and the Catholic life will continue to flourish in Ciudad del Este.

  11. Robbie says:

    If this investigation remains primarily about the priest accused of abuse, then it is a very worthy exercise and worthy of cynicism. If this the investigation branches out into a wide ranging dismantling of the gains made by the bishop, as we’ve seen with the FFI “intervention”, then I think we’re going to have to reassess just what is going on in Rome.

    Honest question. Have any orders or dioceses known for their liberal theology and practices been visited by the Vatican in the last year? I really don’t know.

  12. Deacon Augustine says:

    Whatever the merits of the diocese concerned, any Paraguayan bishop who can give a pass to a predatory homosexual like Urrotigoity should have his head examined, no matter how repentant the offender is for his past sins.

    The same should be said for any Roman bishop who can give a pass to a predatory homosexual like Mgr. Ricca, no matter how repentant the offender is for his past sins. Or is it only the Roman bishop who is allowed to invoke the “Who am I to judge?” clause?

    [Who am I to judge?]

  13. Abe says:

    This article has bothered me ever since I came across it on the American Catholic. Any thoughts as it is connected to this current situation but draws a much bigger circle here in the US.

  14. Giuseppe says:

    Every time I hear “Who am I to judge?” I am reminded of this New Yorker piece on Antonin Scalia offering to help Pope Francis judge gays.


  15. Gratias says:

    Pope Francis asked Catholics to “make lío”.

    If you want a detailed explanation of what this Spanish Inquisition is about you can read:


    You would have to read Spanish to follow it, but Pope Francis, his two representatives and a large number of his immediate advisors in the Curia are Hispanics so if they are in the least curious they can read for themselves.

  16. Gratias says:

    The way this story develops according to the above Dicesan website is as follows. Bishop Livieres was appointed bishop of Ciudad del Este by St. JP2 but was not in the list of three sent by the Nuncio. The Bishops of Paraguay protested. After his installation, this Opus Dei bishop opposed the election of Bishop Lugo as president running for an extreme left party. The bishop’s conference of Paraguay was Liberation Theology and supported the election of President Lugo, who has to hang the cassock after many of his illegitimate children surfaced.

    The new bishop Liveres had 16 priests for 1,000,000 Catholics. Ten of those priests opposed his appointment in writing as did his brother bishops. So the good bishop Livieres started his own seminary. The other Paraguayan bishops protested because until then there was a single seminary in the Capital Asuncion, with about a dozen seminarians. Because of his evangelizing, masses versus Deum and Usus Antiquitur, Seminarians flooded, 60 priests ordained, with about 200 seminarians currently in training. The other bishops are not pleased. The Archbishop of Asunción, who has been accused of being Gay in the courts, called on Pope Francis for this intervention. The Ciudad del Este ordinations due in August were postponed until September when the two Inquisitors will present their report to the Pope, but have not been cancelled.

    In sum, this intervention is one of Liberation Theology striking back now that the winds of change sweep the Catholic Church. The net result is to suppress the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the subcontinent in which it is most needed.

  17. Johnno says:

    Steps seem pretty clear to me..

    1) Locate thriving Traditionalist Order
    2) Look for convenient pretext to investigate (homosexual amongst them, crypto-Lefevbrism etc.)
    3) Punish everyone, suspend ordinations, deny Traditional Mass, enforce the Novus Ordo.
    4) Sit back and watch Order crumble.
    5) Apologize to the Protestants saying any Catholic who wishes to convert them or go back to the old ways is possessed by the devil.

  18. marcelus says:

    Johnno says:
    30 July 2014 at 4:32 am
    Steps seem pretty clear to me..

    1) Locate thriving Traditionalist Order
    2) Look for convenient pretext to investigate (homosexual amongst them, crypto-Lefevbrism etc.)
    3) Punish everyone, suspend ordinations, deny Traditional Mass, enforce the Novus Ordo.
    4) Sit back and watch Order crumble.
    5) Apologize to the Protestants saying any Catholic who wishes to convert them or go back to the old ways is possessed by the devil.

    You know,, I’ve been following this blog for a few months and it must be me but, I will stop because , Im sorry to say this, and my humble apologies, everything seems to be summarized to the “liberal- Traditional” american view of the Church. Obvioulsy , I guess it deals mostly with american catholic issues, but it makes thee “mistake” If I will be allowed tosay so, of extrapolating everything tho these 2 concepts that do not apply to Catholicism.

    In this case, we speak ateasy about Paraguay, a place far far away for most posters, close to us in S America, I’m in Argentina, and it is just amazing to say the least, how this problem that deals mainly with child molestors (he heard the case here before I became public in the norther hemisphere). And surprisingly , all of a sudden , it all comes down to “Ohh watch it, it’s the liberals atttacking the tradiitionals again..”any way it goes, it all comes down to that”.
    honestly, It may be , and I think is , the case in the US, But as I have pointed out before, the traditionalism, beautiful as it may be, just does not exist everywhere or in all countries. I can bet 1ku$s you can ask a common paraguayan catholic, the street man, the church going fellow:, Are you a traditional or are you a liberal catholic”? He is likely to answer: What sir? can you please say that again?

    You may condider that traditional orders, just do not exist in LA. or exist in noticeable terms. Nobody banned them or chased them away. Even the SSPX has presence here. They took over the traditional niche if you will.

    Always wandered why the FSSP was present in Mexico and no other countries here.

    In terms of TLM vs- NO, I will speak for my country, Argentina, NO and liturgy is solemnly celebrated, and observed, sometimes it even includes parts in latin.
    We go to Masss, nobody dances, claps or shouts, pretty much at every parish here and in any province. There are thousands of churches, all over the country. Downtown or even in the most remote spot in the middle of the mountains. Ever since the spanish set foot here, we’ve been catholic.
    So there are no excesses in terms of celebration. At least the likes of which I read in american catholic sites.

    I don’t know. I was reading what Archbsp Chaput said the other day on the Pope being liberal or conservative or communist or all sort of silly branding, THese classifications do not belong to catholicism-

    To think there is a ongoing mission implemented by the Pope, as is the case with Johnno is almost omnipotent and uncharitable.

    AS a paraguayan priest said in the vatican insider, and if you know any history on Paraguay (guerrra de la triple alianza) look it up, and it fits perfectly as the case of priest refusing to be chaste,and in masses…..

    “La situación en Paraguay es así: aquí, a todo el mundo le cuesta la castidad porque, bueno, la cultura guaraní, y la castidad nunca fue el fuerte de los paraguayos”

    “situation in Pareaguay is so: here chastity takes a toll on everyone becasuse, well,. it is guarany culture (watch Robert Deniro’s The mission”) and chastity has never been a strong point with paraguayan men.”

    My apologies again for all that counts.

  19. jhayes says:

    [Urrutigoity] The Vatican has ordered a Roman Catholic diocese in eastern Paraguay to remove a priest accused of sex abuse in the U.S. and to restrict the activities of the bishop who hired him….

    The Vatican’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed Wednesday (July 30) that Urrutigoity had been removed from his position as vicar general, or deputy bishop, of the diocese on July 14.

    “He has not been suspended. He has been removed from the position,” Lombardi said.

    During his visit to Paraguay, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello also told Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano not to proceed with any further ordinations of priests in Ciudad del Este, Lombardi said.


  20. Johnno says:

    marcelus –

    I have never attended a Traditional Mass. Only Novus Ordo around me, and it’s all I’ve ever known, and I don’t possess any hatred of it. But I also know that just by comparing the two rites it is abundantly clear which one is more profoundly Catholic than the other, and in a world gone mad where people don’t possess even the most basic knowledge of the Catholic faith, I’m all for bring back a Mass that is more instructive and edifying.

    Now as to the present topic. One would have to be pretty naive to ignore the heavy-handed one-sidedness with which the Vatican and Bishops crack down on Traditionalist orders, while ignoring the innumerable openly abused Masses, heterodox theology and heresies and promotion of immorality that occurs in countless dioceses, orders and supposedly Catholic institutions. Something very wicked is going on and continues to go on, and you would have to be blind to miss it. Forget about ‘liberal’ labels, it is strictly the work of the Devil himself, and his tail has swept down a good number of the stars, including in very highly ranked places through which he wages war against Christ and His Church.

    Traditionalism is more about just the Mass however, we are concerned with protecting the dogmas of the faith and the preaching of the authentic, uncensored Gospel! There is more at stake and how we worship is one big factor that ties in intimately with what we believe. The more one begins to really contemplate that the Eucharist is really the flesh and blood of God, the more one ought to revere it and to receive it worthily and dread any abuse of so great a thing! Even more, the more one wants to call all men and women the world over to convert and eat of it and be as one! What is there to hide? Why are we not screaming that we possess God Himself from the rooftops? Why do we tell those of other obvious false religions not to bother with us and deprive them of the grace and salvation of God?

    So either we stand up and face our problems before it gets worse and stand up for those who try to do likewise, or cower somewhere in the dark and wish it all just fixes itself. These are times that will test our character, so grasp the opportunity the Lord is offering us to show our love for Him and the Truth.

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