Traditional Friendly Archbishop Dismissed in Filippines
Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Arguelles of Lipa was prematurely retired from his office yesteday, clearly because of his position on a non-approved "Marian Apparition"
(Manila) Pope Francis received the resignation yesterday of Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles of Lipa in the Philippines as it is revealed in the daily bulletin of the Vatican. At the same time, he appointed a successor, the Monsignor Gilbert Garcera, whom he transferred from the bishop's seat from Daet to Lipa.
The retirement of Archbishop Argüelles took place prematurely. The Archbishop is only 72 years old. The reference to Canon 401.2 does not provide any information as to whether he has resigned due to health problems or because of serious misconduct. A corresponding clarification of the Code of Canon Law has been suggested several times in recent years.
A Non-Approved "Marian Apparition" of Lipa
Archbishop Ramon Argüelles gained international fame in the past when, in 2015, he declared the authenticity of Lipa's alleged Marian credentials as "believable" and announced that he was convinced of the "supernatural" nature of the phenomenon.
Already in 2009, the Archbishop had abrogated the negative judgment of a commission of bishops. At the beginning of the 1950s several Philippine bishops had been charged with the study of the phenomenon. On 11 April 1951, the Commission concluded that the alleged phenomena were "not of a supernatural origin". A decision which had been approbated by Pope Pius XII.
On August 18, 1948 in the Carmelite convent of Lipa the novice Teresita Castillo was supposed to have received an apparition of the Mother of God. According to Teresita, there were a total of 19 "apparitions" in which the monastic garden was showered with rose petals from the sky, each bearing sacred images. The images on the rose petals, which are kept in Lipa, were the Jesus Child, St. Joseph, the blessing Jesus, the Holy Family, the Holy Spirit, the Crucified, the Last Supper and other motifs were to be seen. In the last apparition, Mary had presented herself as the "Mediator of all Graces".
Phenomena only "feigned" -- bishop who believes in authenticity, dismissed
The then Bishop of Lipa, Monsignor Alfredo Verzosa y Florentin, was convinced of the authenticity after having been shown a desired miracle. Rome, however, was skeptical and established a theological commission, which in 1949 made a negative judgment. The phenomenon of Lipa is only "feigned" by Teresita and was nevertheless "supported" by the prioress.
Bishop Verzosa was deposed from Rome. The Apostolic Administrator, who was, among several other Filipino bishops under the commission established by Pius XII,, also came to a negative conclusion.
However, the fact that there were conversions and healings in Lipa was interpreted by the Commission with the awakened expectations that people were open for God's work.
Bishop Verzosa was prematurely made emeritus, while his auxiliary bishop, the prioress and the subprioress of the monastery were transferred. The statue of the "appeared" could no longer be shown publicly. The Carmelite convent was dissolved, but the monastery later resettled.
Recognition by the Archbishop -- Intervention of Rome
The pilgrim's stream to Lipa did not abate despite the prohibitions but increased over the years. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the "apparitions," Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the then Philippine President of the Republic had also pilgrimaged to Lipa.
The diocese of Lipa was raised to an archdiocese in 1972. Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, the predecessor of Monsignor Argüelles, reopened the public exhibition of the statue in 1992 and initiated new investigations into the phenomenon. This led Archbishop Argüelles to annul the negative verdict of 1951. In 2013 the beatification procedure for Bishop Verzosa was initiated. In 2015, Archbishop Argüelles declared the phenomenon to be "credible" and "supernatural".
In the same year, however, the Roman Congregation for Congregation intervened and declared on 15 September 2015 the decision of the Archbishop "null and void". The decision of 1951 was definitive. The Archbishop was no longer empowered. The corresponding Roman document was handed over to the Archbishop on May 30, On 16 November 2016 the Carmelite and "Seer" Teresita Castillo died at the age of 89 years. Yesterday, Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Arguelles was made emeritus.
[Update] Franciscans of the Immaculata
Archbishop Arguelles, who in the wake of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum celebrated in the traditional form of the Roman Rite was still "negatively" apprized in another part in Rome. In July 2013, the traditional young order, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate was placed under the provisional administration of the Congregation of Religiouswith the approval of Pope Francis. One reason for this compulsion has not been mentioned to this day. Because of the direct attack against the religious charism, tradition and the traditional Rite, members of the Order tried to find ways out of the constraint. What was contemplated, among other things, was the new foundation as an old ritual Order, which would no longer be subordinated to the Congregation of Religious, but the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei . The Vatican, however, refused and forbade any to leave the Order.
A total of six priests of the Order were also suspended in the Philippines because they tried to reestablish the Order. On June 28, 2014 in the Archdiocese of Lipa, the recognition of a public association of the faithful had taken place, as then Riposte Catholique reported. The recognition was thought of as a precursor to a new foundation test of maltreated Order of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate . Accordingly, the Apostolic Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, reacted sharply, suspending the priests involved in the Order. When the matter became public, the commissioner made a public statement that spoke in a mocking tone of "ultra-traditionalist" circles, but only vaguely about the alleged "misconduct" of the priests which would justify their suspension.
Archbishop Arguelles offered the five Philippine Franciscans of the Immaculate, who had been suspended, a celebret in his archdiocese. He was by no means popular in certain Roman circles. Shortly after the incident in the Philippines Commissioner Volpi threatened Italian bishops, if they should dare to establish Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in their dioceses. At the same time, the Commissioner asserted in all seriousness that the Franciscans of the Immaculate wanted to "overthrow" Pope Francis.
The premature end of his term of office is seen in the Philippines in the context of his attitude to the events of Lipa. A connection with the Franciscans of the Immaculate is not excluded. The Archbishop had not been popular in Rome.
According to reports from Messa in Latino, Archbishop Arguelles learned from the Internet of his dismissal. There would be no question of a resignation which the pope had "accepted." In Daily Bulletin there is an official version that says nothing about the background. Archbishop Arguelles would thus feel the "merciful" arm of Pope Francis get as Bishop Rogelio Livieres of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay experienced it. Under a pretext, Msgr. Livieres had been lured to Rome, where Pope Francis let him stand in front of closed doors, while at home the locks of the bishop's residence were changed. In spite of the bishop's insistence, Francis refused to listen to the bishop who had been deposed. Bishop Livieres was neither given "dialogue" nor "mercy". The "guilt" of Bishop Livieres was that he was too traditional and had succeeded with his priestly seminary, which had almost three times as many seminarians as all the other dioceses of the country together. He had become the "trouble maker" in a bishop's conference riddled indifferentism and liberation theology.
There is also a shadow over the retirement of Archbishop Argüelles.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: PCN / Katholisches.info
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