The retired bishop of the Spanish Diocese of Palencia, Bishop Nicolas Antonio Castellanos Franco, who won the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in 1998, was assaulted at his residence in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on June 14.
According to the Associated Press, Prosecutor Clara Cespedes said, “The robbery occurred in a poor section of a city of one million inhabitants where the bishop of Spanish nationality resides and carries out important social work.”
Cespedes said an initial investigation indicated that “the doorbell was rung, the bishop opened the door, and four assailants robbed him and the other helpers who live at the home. Although no one was injured during the assault, the thieves made off with money, cell phones and other belongings.”
“The thieves took wallets and other belongings from the bishop and his assistants,” she said.
Bishop Nicolas Antonio Castellanos Franco submitted his resignation from the Diocese of Palencia to do missionary work in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in 1991. Pope John Paul II accepted his request in September of that year and named him a Bishop Emeritus in 1992. His missionary work has included the founding of Hombres Nuevos (New Men), a ministry to help improve living conditions in the poor areas of the city.