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Tradition-supporting Italian Bishop stripped of power? March 30, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, the return, the struggle for the Church.
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Rorate has a post regarding Bishop Oliveri of Albenga-Imperia in Italy, a bishop known for his strong support for the Traditional Latin Mass and the traditional practice of the Faith.  There have been some (relatively speaking) minor allegations regarding problems handling abuse and some other matters in the Diocese, so last year a coadjutor bishop was appointed.  At the time, it was not clear what role the coadjutor would have.  Rorate is reporting, based on recent revelations in the Italian press, that Bishop Oliveri will be replaced in all but name as the functional head of the Diocese, with Coadjutor Borghetti taking over all administrative and disciplinary functions:

What was predicted by Italian media in October last year, as reported by Rorate at the time, has taken place exactly as foretold: Msgr. Mario Oliveri, 71, the exceptionally Traditionalist-friendly Bishop of Albenga-Imperia, has been stripped of all powers and is now Ordinary of the diocese in name only.

The appointment of his Coadjutor Bishop, Guglielmo Borghetti, was announced on January 10, but the full extent of the powers given to him was not reported at that time. This has now been publicized thanks to a series of articles in the Italian media and blogosphere in the last few days. The full text of the bull appointing Msgr. Borghetti was read out to the Consultors of the Diocese on March 25, and published on the diocesan website (h/t Messa in Latino). The bull specifies that he is nominated Coadjutor Bishop “with special faculties” consisting of no less than the same jurisdiction that a diocesan bishop has according to Canon 381 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. 

The new Coadjutor Bishop himself confirmed to the Italian news agency ANSA that he now has full powers. ANSA also mentions that “the priests who attended his first celebration in the seminary have expressly said that for the Diocese of Albenga ‘begins a Copernican revolution.'”

It must be kept in mind that even when a Bishop receives a Coadjutor, the former does not necessarily lose his normal powers as ruling bishop until he steps down. The current situation in Albenga-Imperia is therefore exceptional, and can only be the result of the express will of Pope Francis. 

As our readers will certainly realize, this humiliation of yet another Traditional-friendly Bishop stands in dramatic contrast to the Pope’s inaction over the crisis enveloping his scandalous appointment of Juan Barros as Bishop of Osorno in Chile, despite credible and multiple allegations linking him to the sexual abuse of minors. 

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All the supporting links are in Italian, so it is difficult to understand, specifically, how this assigning of roles to the coadjutor is more expansive and different qualitatively than such appointments normally are.

This matter may bring back unhappy memories for Dallas Catholics, who recall that in 2000, Joseph Galante was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Dallas in the wake of Bishop Grahman’s disastrous handling of several priest boy-rape cases, especially that of Rudy Kos, which at the time resulted in a historic civil judgment against the Diocese.  Scandalously, in spite of the fact that his credibility had been shattered, Bishop Grahman refused to step down and turn over significant areas of diocesan administration to Bishop Galante.  There followed a very public row that divided the clergy and laity and led to Bishop Galante’s eventual stormy departure in 2003.

I am not certain if Bishop Galante was given similar “special faculties” to more or less forcibly take over administration of the Diocese of Dallas, as apparently this Bishop Borghetti has.  Certainly, it was expected that Bishop Grahman would retire within 18 months of Galante’s appointment, something Bishop Grahman steadfastly refused to do (which brings up rather significant questions regarding obedience, since Pope Saint John Paul II had very clearly conveyed his express desire that Bishop Grahman retire early and give up the reins to Galante- apparently, arch-liberals like Grahman are allowed to obey if they want and disobey when they feel like it – pretty rich coming from a man who demanded absolute unquestioning obedience from all this priests).  So could Oliveri “pull a Grahman” and simply refuse to leave, refuse to give up an administrative role, and work with those priests loyal to him to maintain a power base?  Unlikely, as it seems only modernists/progressives are allowed to get away with such disobedience.  Those friendly to to Tradition generally have qualms of conscience that would prevent them from acting in a way so contrary to the express will of the Sovereign Pontiff.  But double standards in treatment can tend to erode that tendency towards obedience, a trend that could have unfortunate consequences for the future of the Church.

As a final footnote, after the ambitious Bishop Galante finally got his diocese (Camden, NJ), he turned out to be at least as dogmatically liberal as Grahman.  His administration of the Diocese of Camden was filled with church closures and unhappy laity. Galante revealed himself to be very strongly on the side of the hermeneutic of rupture, you could say.  He was no fan of Tradition, and sought to sack priests who were too tradition-friendly. There was also a financial scandal.  At least one good local priest indicated “we dodged a bullet” in not getting Galante as our bishop.

So perhaps all’s well that end’s well. But not for Bishop Oliveri.

Comments

1. Branch - March 30, 2015

Do you have any links to Galante’s theological views?

2. Daniel Connelly - March 30, 2015

We in Camden Diocese, got Galante and the results here are a disaster. Traditional orders were shown the door. Over half the schools were closed even if they were growing, prospering and financially sound. We have less than half the Parishes and they are still actively consolidating. Bishop Sullivan has replaced Galante, but I see no substantive improvement. Last year Mass attendance dropped over 3% or 2900 people throughout the diocese. The diocese decided to sell all four of its nursing homes, but not to Catholics. Camden Diocese is the largest owner of low income apartments in Southern New Jersey with about 700 units.
It is all; stewardship,social justice,vibrancy and deacons replacing priests even at what should be a Mass. Cardinal Dolan this past month officially signed on the Camden Diocese model for church improvement.

3. Dennis Hogan - March 30, 2015

Re: Galante-Grahman
That’s one more example for the need for episcopal reform across the Church. Too many maverick bishops without checks on their power.
Time to rein them in with some strict lay oversight, especially in the area of finances and temporal goods!

4. Anonymous - March 31, 2015

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