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By Fr. Thomas G. Guarino, First Things, Nov. 16, 2022

Rev. Msgr. Thomas G. Guarino is professor emeritus of systematic theology at Seton Hall University and the author of The Disputed Teachings of Vatican II.


In March, Pope Francis removed Daniel Fernández Torres from his bishopric of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. According to Fernández, his removal came without formal explanation and without due process.

The bishop readily conceded that he had been out of step with his Puerto Rican colleagues on several issues: his refusal to cosign a statement on the obligation to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus; his failure to send seminarians to the Interdiocesan Seminary of Puerto Rico; and his liberal approval of the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. But these are hardly reasons to remove him from office. It is possible that not all of the issues involved in the case are known to the public. But what is known raises legitimate concerns. For removing a bishop from his diocese, absent serious doctrinal or moral matters, has grave theological consequences. …

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