|Pope Francis Fascinated by Archbishop Altieri's Pectoral|
Cross in June 2013
One might assume Archbishop Altieri from the Salesian Order is seriously ill and therefore prevented from continuing the leadership of his diocese. "The truth is that his 'resignation' followed on what would be called today, a fraternal visit," said Secretum meum mihi . In fact, it refers to an Apostolic Visitation. In this specific case, Pope Francis had sent the Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes as Visitor to the Archdiocese Passo Fundo. That same Cardinal Hummes, Jorge Mario Bergoglio allegedly recommended after his election, to call Francis and the new Pope, and had shown the Pope the way by saying: "Do not forget the poor."
"Bishop who does not behave the way ultra-progressive clergy wants, has numbered days"
What the local Brazilian media reported is reminiscent of similar cases in the past year. "The direction of 'mercy' against bishops whose whose inclinations do not fit the Franciscan era: A more or less conservative bishop who does not behave as the ultra-progressive part of his clergy wants, has numbered days," so says the Brazilian site Fratres in Unum . "The liberal clique is well organized, knows what it wants and knows especially which way it has to tread."
In Passo Fundo there is a Theological Institute, which is in the hands of liberation theologians. They complained to the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, is said to have spent $ 600,000 for the renovation of the bishop's residence, the Seminary, the Archdiocese and a retreat house. [That's cheap.]
In another complaint Archbishop Altieri was charged with pursuing "rubricismus" and "ritualism" pursuing, say, in the sacred liturgy focusing too much on compliance with the rubrics and a worthy celebration. In addition, the group of priests criticized his willingness of the bishop to accept seminarians who have been rejected by other dioceses.
In fact, the seminary of Passo Fundo counts itself as having, in relation to its population, an above average number of seminarians. In the Archdiocese which is however different reasons: "One focus of Archbishop Altieri is the pastoral care of vocations, therefore, is also the renovation of the seminary. It shows what is important for the diocese. And it was necessary because of the many seminarians," said the deputy rector shortly after the start of the visit. Only unofficially was was it confirmed today in the diocese that "appropriate seminarians were taken that were too 'conservative' who were rejected in other dioceses." With the addition: "You know, many bishops are fairly liberal."
Bishop was "at least a ray of hope"
Archbishop Altieri was dubbed by the media as a "conservative" in the Brazilian episcopate. He was not closely connected to tradition. In 2014 he turned against the state efforts to equate homosexual relationships to marriage. "Society can not simply turn a blind eye to the equality of homosexuals". In the Diocese of Passo Fundo, "concubinage among the clergy is widespread, Archbishop Altieri was at least a ray of hope," said Fratres in Unum. In Archbishop Altieri, Catholics hoped for a suppression of the influence of liberation theology in Passo Fundo.
At the beginning of the visitation, Archbishop Altieri informed the whole diocese about it and urged all to "full" and "constructive" cooperation with the Visitor, "so that we participate in it through our prayer and reflection on the importance of this moment, which Providence gives us." The fact that the visitation would end with his removal from office, the Archbishop had not considered possible.
Msgr. Paulo De Conto, Bishop of Montenegro, will initially carry out the task as Apostolic Administrator the Archdiocese Passo Fundo until Pope Francis will have appointed a successor to Archbishop Altieri.
Archbishop Altieri was born in 1951, ordained a priest in 1978 and 2006 appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. as Bishop of Caraguatatuba. In 2012 he was appointed, also by Benedict XVI., as Archbishop of Passo Fundo. At the age of 63 years, he has now been put out of service.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Secretum meum mihi / Wikicommons
Image: Secretum meum mihi / Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org