Holy See to define canonical status of former bishop elected president


Bishop Claudio Jimenez of Caacupe said Tuesday the Bishops Conference of Paraguay hopes the Vatican will define the canonical status of former bishop Fernando Lugo, who has been elected president of Paraguay, “by the end of the month.”

Bishop Jimenez said the Apostolic Nuncio to Paraguay, Archbishop Orlando Antonini, is currently consulting with the Vatican and “will bring the response of the Holy See when he returns from Rome at the end of July.”

Pressed by reporters for more details about the decision by the Vatican, the bishop said he had no further comments and that the best thing was for the bishops “to be prudent.”

Lugo and Archbishop Antonini met on April 24 to find a solution to the unprecedented situation that confronts the Catholic Church with the election of a bishop as president of the country.

The Vatican suspended Lugo “a divinis” and refused to accept his resignation from the clerical state in January of 2007.  Lugo won the presidential election on April 20.

In April the Bishops’ Conference of Paraguay said Canon Law does not provide for the laicization of a bishop and suggested the President-elect could return to the Church when his term ends in 2013.
They noted that such a proposal would require Pope Benedict XVI to grant a special dispensation before Lugo takes office on August 15.

Soon after winning the election, Lugo publicly asked forgiveness for the “harm” he caused the Church with his decision to enter politics and disobey the Holy See.


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