ACI Prensa also sent an inquiry to Corrada del Rio about his alleged statements about a secret apostolic visitation by Cupich.
"I only know that Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, visited the Diocese of Arecibo. My guess is wrong,” he told the news agency.
Lack of due process criticized
ACI Prensa has identified at least two factors that may have influenced the Holy See’s decision to remove Torres.
The first factor was his refusal to transfer his diocese’s seminarians to the new Interdiocesan Seminary of Puerto Rico, approved by the Vatican in March 2020.
The second factor, ACI Prensa found, was Torres’ defense of the right of Catholics to conscientiously object to compulsory COVID-19 vaccination, in accordance with guidelines issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Torres refused to sign a joint statement of the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference asserting that "there is a duty to vaccinate and we do not see how an objection of conscience can be invoked from Catholic morality."
These positions would have led other Puerto Rican bishops to accuse him before the Holy See for an alleged lack of collegiality, ACI Prensa found.
At that meeting with Corrada del Río, several priests criticized the lack of due process in Torres' removal.
One of the priests noted that no bishop in Germany has suffered a similar fate, despite several statements against the teachings of the Catholic Church connected with the country’s Synodal Path. The controversial process is debating sexual morality, the priesthood, and the way in which power is exercised in the Church, among other issues.
Another priest interviewed by ACI Prensa expressed his frustration against what he described as "the sending of a spy, not an apostolic visitation."
(Story continues below)
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"I understand that the apostolic visitation is announced. It is not announced to the four winds, but it comes with an agenda,” the priest said.
"We (the clergy of Arecibo) should have been asked, not only the Episcopal Conference," he added.
"If they did that to the bishop, imagine what they would do to us," one of the four priests told ACI Prensa.
Another said he felt "sad," because "I believe that the Church should not act in an arbitrary manner, I think we all deserve a trial."
"Even if it is me tomorrow, God forbid, I am accused of something as a priest. I would like a clear and fair trial," he said.
This story originally was published by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister news agency. The story was translated and edited by CNA.