Archdiocese focuses on dialogue with convent

Schismatic Poor Clares: First nun leaves convent

Belorado - The situation surrounding a schismatic convent of Poor Clares in Spain is coming to a head: A nun has left the convent. The Archbishopric of Burgos is trying to defuse the situation – but no one in the convent is answering the phone.

Published  on 15.05.2024 at 12:39  – 

After a Spanish convent of Poor Cl ares in Belorado broke with the Catholic Church, the first nun has left the convent. "Nobody is being held here against their will," the priest José Ceacero confirmed to the Basque television station "EITB" on Tuesday. The remaining 15 Poor Clares are "very satisfied and happy", said Ceacero, who belongs to the priests' association of the schismatic bishop Pablo de Rojas Sánchez-Franco, which the convent has joined. He said they had a lot of work to do making the traditional pastries as they had received numerous orders from supporters.

Ceacero acts as the convent's unofficial spokesperson, as the nuns themselves do not comment on their situation to journalists. However, the Poor Clares started a blog three days ago on which they publish photos of the church services with Rojas. In a video on Instagram, a nun said that she wanted to explain the reasons for her departure from the Catholic Church to friends of the convent, but asked for patience.

Ceacero also rejected speculation that the break with the church was linked to property disputes between the convent and the Archbishopric of Burgos. In his opinion, the sisters had discovered "that the doctrine and faith taught by the Second Vatican Council is not the doctrine of the Catholic Church". The Poor Clares had therefore approached Rojas of their own accord. Ceacero accused the Archbishop of Burgos, Mario Iceta, of having prevented the acquisition of another monastery by the Poor Clares on flimsy grounds. In the meantime, the nuns have invited their family members to the convent so that they can meet the schismatic bishop and the other priests of the priests' association who are currently staying there.

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The archdiocese of Burgos, on whose territory the convent is located, has not yet taken any legal action, Spanish media reported. The archdiocese is relying on dialogue with the Poor Clares in order to prevent a final break with the Catholic Church. However, this has not worked so far, as the superior of the convent is not answering the phone. The mayor of Belorado, a small town in central Spain where the convent is located, expressed his surprise at the schism between the Poor Clares. "We didn't expect this at all," said Álvaro Eguíliuz. The nuns are known beyond the region for their production of truffles and pastries.

On Monday, the Poor Clares had declared that they would leave the "Council Church" because, in their opinion, all popes after Pius XII (1939-1958) were "heretical usurpers". The Spaniard Rojas, under whose jurisdiction they have placed themselves, is a well-known sedevacantist. Following contacts with the schismatic Palmarian Catholic Church in Spain, Rojas founded an association of priests in 2005 that is based on the statutes of Opus Dei founder José María Escrivá de Balaguer, which were in force before the rules were officially recognised by Pope John Paul II in 1982. The schismatic bishop does not recognise sacraments administered outside his community. In 2006, he received an invalid episcopal ordination in Cologne, followed a few years later by another ordination by a bishop in the lineage of the Vietnamese schismatic Ngô Dình Thuc. In 1976, the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that it did not recognise the ordinations administered by Ngô. Experts characterise the association founded by Rojas as a Christian sect that glorifies the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. (rom)