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Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres

ARECIBO, Puerto Rico (LifeSiteNews) — A Puerto Rican bishop removed from his diocese by Pope Francis after opposing COVID “vaccine” mandates strongly denounced Fiducia Supplicans and warned that bishops who fail to speak out against it risk incurring God’s wrath.

Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres, who led the Diocese of Arecibo from 2010 until his sudden dismissal two years ago without a canonical trial, said in a new statement that Fiducia Supplicans, a document approved by Pope Francis that endorses “blessings” for homosexual “couples,” violates Catholic teaching and the Church’s “perennial pastoral practice.”

Assessing the state of the Church, Bishop Fernández Torres said that “without fear of being wrong, we can affirm that it is going through very difficult times.”

Fiducia Supplicans, which the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued in December, is “a painful example of this,” the bishop wrote.

With deep sadness and immense pain, I know of the scandal and great suffering that many brothers are going through,” he related.

Fiducia Supplicans “contributes to the situation of doubt, ambiguity and confusion in the Church” and contradicts “the perennial pastoral practice of the Church,” Bishop Fernández Torres declared.

READ: Cardinal Müller: Fiducia Supplicans ‘leads to heresy,’ Catholics cannot accept it

He further criticized the document’s false distinction between “couples” and “unions,” writing that “it is also contradictory in attempting to maintain that these ‘couples’ can be blessed without at the same time blessing that which precisely constitutes them as a ‘couple,’ which is their union or relationship.”

“In Lent, we remember that Jesus gave His life on the Cross to conquer sin, not to bless it, to save the sinner with His mercy and seek his conversion,” he stressed.

Despite attempts to defend Fiducia Supplicans with “argumentative juggling,” Bishop Fernández Torres said, “the recent declaration does not refer to individual people but to ‘couples’ in a situation of sin. In this way, it seeks to allow ‘pastoral’ action that contradicts Catholic doctrine.”

The Puerto Rican prelate particularly called on bishops to oppose the heterodox document, warning that God may “curse” them if they fail to uphold Catholic teaching.

“The Church is ‘apostolic,’ so all the successors of the apostles, in communion with the Pope, as visible head, are obliged to care for the universal Church, promoting and defending the unity of faith and common discipline, (cf. [Lumen Gentium] 22-23) and one day we will have to give an account to God,” he insisted.

Bishop Fernández Torres endorsed fellow bishops’ criticism of Fiducia Supplicans and their refusal to implement it in their dioceses.

The apostle Paul serves as an example when he fraternally corrects the apostle Peter (Gal 2:11-14). For this reason, bishops, cardinals, former prefects of congregations, and episcopal conferences from various parts of the world have legitimately expressed their concern with this declaration and, in a spirit of fraternal correction, have criticized it or requested that it be revoked, or have decreed that it should not be implemented in their respective ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

“It is what those of us who belong to the Episcopal College must do,” he affirmed.

“It is up to all of us,” Bishop Fernández Torres continued, “to ensure the unity of the Church, whose morality is universal and cannot depend on where one lives.”

“If we do not, ‘the stones will cry out’ (Lk 19:49) and we could become deserving of the harsh words addressed by God to the priests in the book of Malachi: ‘I will send the curse on them and I will also curse their blessings. … you have gone astray, says the Lord of hosts, and have caused many to stumble because of your doctrine’ (cf. Ml 2, 1-9),” he wrote.

He concluded his statement by urging the faithful to pray for the pope “so that he may always speak and act moved by the Holy Spirit” and “fulfill his mission of confirming us in the faith, especially in these times of darkness.”

READ: Bishop removed by Pope Francis after opposing vaccine mandates tells scandalized Catholics to ‘pray and trust’

Bishop Fernández Torres’ condemnation of Fiducia Supplicans reflects that of numerous other prominent prelates, theologians, and canon lawyers, including Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Cardinal Robert Sarah, and Father Gerald Murray.

As Cardinal Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has noted, “blessing” a homosexual “couple” necessarily approves their sodomitic relationship, which “constitutes them as such a couple.” Fiducia Supplicans‘ proposal of homosexual “blessings,” the cardinal warned, is “contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church” and “logically leads to heresy.”

More than a dozen bishops’ conferences, many of them in Africa and Eastern Europe, have also rejected such “blessings” in defiance of the papal document, as have individual diocesan bishops, priestly orders and communities, and leading Catholic figures around the world. The Catholic bishops of Africa issued a unified statement in January declaring that there will be “no blessing for homosexual couples in the African churches.”

Bishop Fernández Torres reaffirms ‘perplexity’ at his removal

In Bishop Fernández Torres’s new statement, which marks the second anniversary of his ousting from the Diocese of Arecibo, the bishop reaffirmed his “perplexity at such an action.”

“As two years have passed since my removal as bishop of Arecibo, remaining in my perplexity at such an action, I wish to express from my heart to all my fellow diocesans that I miss them,” he wrote. “How can I not feel nostalgic for my beloved diocese of Arecibo!”

The prelate emphasized the “divine right” of the bishop as the pastor of his diocese who “cannot be understood without his flock.”

“A unique relationship is established between the bishop and his diocese, like a spousal relationship,” Bishop Fernández Torres said. “By divine right the bishop is the proper pastor of that particular church that has been entrusted to him. The shepherd cannot be understood without his flock.”

“Therefore, if, against all rights, it is taken from him, the shepherd will remain in the anguish of love that the Book of the Song of Songs describes: ‘Tell me, love of my soul, where you feed the flock, where you take it to rest in noon, so that I do not wander as a wanderer after the flocks of your companions’ (Ct 1:7).”

READ: Prominent priest says we need to ‘save the papacy’ after Francis deposes conservative bishop

‘A totally unjust action’

In a previous statement announcing his removal, Bishop Fernández Torres decried Pope Francis’ deposition of him as “a totally unjust action.”

“No process has been made against me,” he said at the time, “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.”

Pope Francis abruptly “relieved” the Bishop Fernández Torres of pastoral care of his diocese in March 2022 without bringing formal charges against him or even giving an explanation. The move sparked widespread criticism and a series of protests, prayer vigils, petitions, and letter campaigns in support of the bishop, who is revered by Puerto Rican Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Bishop Fernández Torres was for years the only Catholic prelate on the island who regularly stood up for life, family, and religious freedom, as LifeSite reported, and served as “a moral reference for the entire country,” in the words of one Puerto Rican senator.

While the Vatican has declined to give a reason for Pope Francis’ ouster of Bishop Fernández Torres, his decision was reportedly motivated in large part by the bishop’s defense of conscience objections to “vaccine” mandates.

The apostolic delegate of Puerto Rico demanded his resignation shortly after he refused to sign a letter issued by the island’s episcopal conference announcing a strict jab mandate for priests and employees. The letter, which also imposed segregation at Mass based on jab status, echoed Francis’ claim that taking the shots is a “moral duty.”

Bishop Fernández Torres had released a separate statement days earlier defending the right to refuse vaccination on the basis of conscience, insisting that “it is possible for a faithful Catholic to have conscientious objection to the alleged mandatory nature of the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Though his support of conscience rights reiterated Catholic teaching on vaccination as well as the Vatican’s own doctrinal note on the COVID jabs, it nevertheless led to his removal by Pope Francis, according to ACI Prensa.

In a canonical brief to the Vatican, Bishop Fernández Torres said that several Puerto Rican bishops agitated for his removal due to his letter on vaccination, in addition to his initial hesitance to send seminarians to an interdiocesan seminary in Puerto Rico and controversy over a lawsuit regarding pension obligations of the Archdiocese of San Juan, led by Archbishop Roberto González Nieves, The Pillar reported.

The brief specifically accused González Nieves, a dissident, pro-LGBT liberal, of orchestrating his dismissal.

Priests in the Diocese of Arecibo have also said that Cardinal Blase Cupich, the heterodox, far-left archbishop of Chicago, visited the diocese in 2021 and may have been involved in the removal of Bishop Fernández Torres.

While targeting faithful Catholics, Pope Francis has refused to sanction openly heretical bishops, including in Germany and Belgium, who have repudiated Catholic teaching on sexuality, gender, the Eucharist, and the ordination of women, among other things.

READ: Catholic priest rebukes bishops endorsing ‘blessings’ of sinful relationships: ‘You need to repent’