July 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Spanish diocese of Getafe has removed a parish priest after finding evidence of a homosexual relationship with a seminarian, according to Spanish media sources.
Fr. Andrés García Torres, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima parish in the town of Fuenlabrada, has been relieved of his duties after the diocesan administration was presented with a photo of Torres and a seminarian with their arms around each other, shirtless.
Torres, who is protesting his innocence, says that the diocese is also citing evidence from social networking sites, in which Torres allegedly offered himself as a “passive” participant in homosexual acts. He claims the diocese also has video evidence.
In interviews with the media, in which he himself brought the allegations to light, Torres denies that he is a homosexual, and claims that the photo only expresses a friendship between himself and the seminarian. Torres claims that they were shirtless because of the heat of the day, and accuses the diocese of “puritanism.”
“It was very hot and we didn’t have shirts on. What is this puritanism? We are in the 21st century,” Andrés said in a press interview. He says he doesn’t know how the diocese got the photo, since “It was in my computer and I didn’t even upload it to Facebook.”
Andrés brought the charges to light after the diocese approached him about the matter, and after undergoing several sessions with a psychologist. He resisted the order to remove him from ministry for several days, and was supported by many parishioners, who regarded his removal as an “injustice.” However, he capitulated Sunday and turned the keys of the church over to diocesan officials, saying that “it was the best thing to do so that the family doesn’t continue to suffer.”
The priest’s next destination is unknown, although he has mentioned the possibility of a “vacation” to a monastery in the United States. He has been ordered not to reside in the town of Fuenlabrada. Parishioners say they plan to deliver a petition with 1,500 signatures protesting his removal.
The swift action of the diocese of Getafe stands in stark contrast to the Archdiocese of Barcelona, whose Archbishop Cardinal Sistach has permitted a priest who had assisted in abortions and homosexual unions to continue in his ministry for years.
The Catholic Church, in union with all of the major world religions, teaches that homosexual sexual acts are opposed to nature and are intrinsically evil.