REJECTED Archbishop Daniel Fernández Torres
Never informed about the reasons for his removal.
Never charged, verbally or in writing, by any superior authority.
Begs Pope for justice, to observe the 2016 norms (Come una madre amorevole) regarding the trial of a bishop
Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres, 57, says he feels "blessed to suffer persecution and calumny."
In a letter published on the Diocese of Arecibos’ website, he says, “Today I can hold my head high and even being imperfect and sinful, know that I have done the right thing and that gives me a lot of inner peace.”
He stressed that this experience “has helped me realize in a new way the grave responsibility that all bishops have in the government of the Church, which is apostolic and not pyramidal, synodal and not autocratic. I think that for quite some time many bishops have been watching with concern what is happening in the Church and we have resisted believing what is happening. Today more than ever we must remember our calling to be prophets. These are difficult times, but let's not lose hope.”
When Bishop Fernández Torres was relieved of the pastoral care of his diocese, the Holy See gave no reason for the decision.
Two factors may, however, have influenced the decision.
- He had initially resisted sending his seminarians to the Inter-diocesan Seminary of Puerto Rico, approved by the Vatican in March 2020.
- He had also supported conscientious objection to compulsory vaccination against COVID-19.
In his letter, the Bishop Emeritus of Arecibo expressed his joy at "how much we have been able to do together in the Diocese of Arecibo, in these almost twelve years, in youth and vocational ministry, in the fight for the dignity of human love, family and respect for life.”
In addition, he highlighted the work done for “the freedom of the Church against political interference, in the formation of holy priests and in having given a 'House' to the Virgin in our diocesan Shrine. If for trying to be faithful to God I am replaced in office, it’s worth it, because as a bishop I can be useful to the Church with my own witness.”
He went on to stress his "communion in the Catholic faith, with the Pope and my brothers in the episcopate, despite my perplexity at an incomprehensible arbitrariness. And if, from now on, I can be of any service to you, I declare my complete availability.”
Insiders, however, claim that the man who forced the Pope’s decision was Fernández’ main opponnent, San Juan Archbishop González Nieves, who strongly called for vaccinations against Covid.
Bishop Álvaro Corrada del Río, S.J., Bishop Emeritus of Mayagüez, was appointed Apostolic Administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.