VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – Amid talks about the Church’s involvement in the Canadian residential school system, Francis has said he is planning a trip to visit Indigenous Canadians in July.
On April 1, following a succession of meetings with Indigenous leaders, Pope Francis indicated that he may be visiting Canada to meet with Indigenous people in their “native lands” as early as July 26, the Feast Day of St. Anne.
“You have brought the living sense of your communities here in Rome,” Francis said, referring to the meetings he had with Indigenous leaders throughout March.
“I will be happy to benefit again from meeting you by visiting your native lands, where your families live,” continued the pope, adding that “it gives me joy, for example, to think of the veneration that has spread among many of you for St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. This year I would like to be with you during those days.”
Francis’ meetings with Indigenous leaders were focused primarily around the Church’s involvement in the residential school system in the 19th and 20th centuries in Canada. While the schools were installed by the Canadian government, various Christian churches, including the Catholic Church, operated the schools, which were populated with Indigenous children.
Over the years, many former students of residential schools have accused members of the Catholic clergy of abuse within the schools, while also stating that the entire purpose of the schools was to erase the Indigenous identity and replace it with a European, Christian identity, which they consider to be “cultural genocide.”
By all accounts, Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres' diocese of Arecibo in Puerto Rico is flourishing because of his adherence to the perennial teachings of the Church.
But, without any formal proceedings, Bishop Fernández Torres has been summarily 'relieved' of his episcopal duties allegedly because he championed conscience rights in the face of a Church vaccine mandate in Puerto Rico.
Please SIGN this urgent petition to Pope Francis urging him to reinstate Bishop Fernández Torres now.
To be clear, COVID-19 is a serious disease, oftentimes with debilitating consequences, or worse, for those who contract it.
However, all coronavirus vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have been tested on or produced with cell lines of aborted babies. And, the vaccines have been linked to serious side effects, while none has yet completed long-term testing.
Given the complexity of this issue, the Church has determined that getting vaccinated is a matter of personal discernment which each individual must make after informing his or her conscience.
As such, the Church teaches that there is no moral obligation to be vaccinated. Indeed, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Church's teaching authority where faith and moral are concerned, issued a statement to that effect in December, 2020.
Specifically, the CDF's, “Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines,” of December 17, 2020, n. 5 states: “At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”
Therefore, it would appear that for simply restating the current teaching of the CDF and for opposing his brother bishops in Puerto Rico on this seminal matter of conscientious objection, Rome is now attempting to "cancel" Bishop Fernández Torres.
This is wrong, unfair and discriminatory!
And, Bishop Fernández Torres is hardly the first bishop to defend Church teaching on conscientious objection on the issue of mandatory vaccination. Both the Colorado and South Dakota bishops' conferences released similar statements, and like Bishop Fernández Torres, they also offered to validate religious exemptions for member of their flock who asked to be exempted from vaccination.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to Pope Francis urging him to reinstate Bishop Fernández Torres.
For his part, Bishop Fernández Torres, 57, a staunch defender of life and family, protested his removal as "totally unjust" in a statement released Wednesday (3/9/2022).
The bishop, who led his diocese for nearly 12 years, noted that Pope Francis’ apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico verbally requested that he resign, but said that he refused to do so, as he "did not want to become an accomplice of a totally unjust action."
"No process has been made against me," Bishop Fernández Torres wrote, "nor have I been formally accused of anything, and simply one day the apostolic delegate verbally communicated to me that Rome was asking me to resign."
“A successor of the apostles is now being replaced without even undertaking what would be a due canonical process to remove a parish priest,” the bishop added.
“I was informed that I had committed no crime but that I supposedly ‘had not been obedient to the pope nor had I been in sufficient communion with my brother bishops of Puerto Rico,’” he said. “It was suggested to me that if I resigned from the diocese I would remain at the service of the Church in case at some time I was needed in some other position; an offer that in fact proves my innocence.”
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to Pope Francis urging him to reinstate Bishop Fernández Torres. Thank you!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Pope Francis abruptly removes faithful bishop who opposed COVID vaccine mandates' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-abruptly-removes-faithful-bishop-who-opposed-covid-vaccine-mandates/
'Puerto Rico bishop supports conscience objections to COVID vaccines, allows priests to sign exemptions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/puerto-rico-bishop-supports-conscience-objections-to-covid-vaccines-allows-priests-to-sign-exemptions/
**Photo Credit: Diocese of Arecibo
While there were certainly instances of abuse within the residential school system, relations between the Church and the Indigenous communities have been drastically worsened over the last year by misleading reports claiming that “mass graves” of hundreds of bodies were discovered in the ground at former residential schools.
Despite an extensive investigation by Professor Emeritus Jacques Rouillard from the Université de Montréal finding that the “discovery” of bodies at a school was actually data picked up by “ground-penetrating radar … based on depressions and abnormalities in the soil of an apple orchard near the school – not on exhumed remains,” mainstream media and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took off with the story that bodies had been discovered, further damaging the already strained relations between the Church and Indigenous communities.
Since then, 68 churches have been vandalized or set on fire, some of them burning down entirely, with mainstream media and the government never clarifying that the reports of mass graves still remain unconfirmed.