(LifeSiteNews) — Dear C—,
Fun. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about you. It has been so much fun being your mom. You were so full of life from the very start. Once, while I was still pregnant with you, the doctor became concerned because you were so small for your gestational age. So he sent me for a test where they connected sensors to my belly to count your movements. I said, “Well, get ready,” and as soon as they turned it on, the meter started going berserk. Click. Click. Clickety click click click. They didn’t even make you finish the test, but disconnected the meter after about 20 minutes, concluding that you were just fine.
I have so many happy memories of you running, climbing, building, and jumping. Feeding the pigeons with the homeless guy in Savannah, building the paper bird cage, the turkey trap, pole climbing (which had the added fun of terrifying grandma), playing games, reading Harry Potter to you in bed, helping me with foster kids, summers at Camp W… Your joy in life was so contagious, because to you, everything really was awesome. Yeah, you got in trouble, but only because nobody else could keep up with your level of excitement about the world. I remember one night, while I was putting you to bed, you asked me whether I would rather have so-and-so for a daughter, instead of you, because so-and-so never pulled cards. You seemed genuinely surprised and relieved when I hugged you tight and told you that I would never ever trade you for anyone else in the whole wide world.
And now, you are the loveliest young lady I have ever known. There is nothing I am prouder of in this life than how you have turned out. You are beautiful, smart, strong, courageous, hard-working, thoughtful, serious, kind, determined, and still so much fun.
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
Indeed, there is so much good in this world, but by now you know that this world can be a very dark place, and it is growing darker every day. I am writing this letter on the day after my Aunt H-’s funeral. If she were able to speak, she would have echoed the words of Jesus during his passion: “Weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children.” In only two generations, Satan has completely decimated this once vibrant Irish Catholic family. Two Catholic sisters, Aunt H- and my grandmother, B-, were faithful to the end, but they somehow failed to pass that faith on to any of their children. Their six children, including my own father, have lived on the fumes of Catholic faith, and managed to lead fairly respectable lives. But in my generation, even this sheen of respectability is gone, leaving only devastation in its wake: divorce, fatherlessness, abortion, cohabitation, alcohol and drug abuse, voluntary infertility, and just two weeks ago: suicide. Of all the descendants at my Aunt H-’s funeral mass, I was the only one able to receive communion. I don’t say this to brag; it was by grace alone (and the prayers of my ancestors) that I managed to stumble my way back into the Catholic Church, just barely in time to offer my own family some hope of redemption.
I tell you all this to warn you as you go out into the world. Satan prowls about looking for souls to steal, and yours would be a grand prize indeed. Zealously guard your soul, C—. Stay close to Jesus, and his bride, the Church. You know that the greatest temptation today comes in the realm of human sexuality. I am so proud of how you have kept your mind, heart, and body pure. Keep it up. There is one specific threat that is so grave that I must be blunt: artificial contraception is the modern fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis, Chapter 3). Artificial contraception is such a terrible temptation because it offers power over creation that belongs to God alone. It is the origin of so many evil theories and practices in the world today. Like that fruit long ago, you must never taste it or even touch it, or you will surely die. And if someday God blesses you with children, you must guard their souls even more zealously than we guarded yours, because the stakes get higher with every generation.
Yesterday, as I was walking through the airport, I passed a young man about your age. He was wearing a shirt with one word printed on it in giant bold letters: “OBEY”. I never thought one word could communicate so much. What a singularly unpopular idea! Obey? That’s for people who can’t think for themselves! And yet there it is—the secret to true happiness in only four letters: Obey. Obey Jesus. Obey his Church. Obey your father and mother and all worldly authority, so long as their rule serves the Kingdom of Heaven. And when (not if) you must disobey for the sake of faith, do so respectfully and endure the consequences as Jesus did, forgiving those who persecute you. There is no doubt in my mind that the man wearing the “OBEY” shirt was a Christian. Nobody else would promote such a radical idea as obedience.
We love you so much, C—. What a gift you have been. Know that I will pray for you every single day of my life and yours until we are all together for eternity in heaven.