Sunday, June 19, 2011

EUROPE: SPAIN: PRIEST SUSPENDED AFTER ELECTION TO PUBLIC OFFICE

CNA REPORT: A priest in Spain was suspended after he was elected to public office in the northeastern city of La Gudina.

The suspension will remain in effect until Father Antonio Fernandez has “irrefutably shown—in the judgment of the bishops” that he has renounced “all public office, commitment or political activity” and displays “willingness to act in communion with the Catholic Church.”

Fr. Fernandez, who ran for a spot on the city council, was elected and took office on June 11. The Diocese of Ourense announced he would be suspended as pastor of the four parishes under his care, prohibited from “interfering in any way” in the choosing of his successor, and forbidden from exercising priestly ministry.

The diocese said it exhausted every means before making “this difficult determination” once the priest’s decision had been made known and that he had been respectfully and clearly notified “of the canonical consequences that could result from such a decision.”

According to Canon Law, members of the clergy are not permitted to hold public office or to actively participate in political parties.

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