Stafford Dismisses Top Official Hispanic Priest Ousted

By Virginia Culver
Denver Post
November 22, 1994

A high-level official in the Denver Catholic Archdiocese has been removed from his job and can no longer operate as a priest, according to an item in the Denver Catholic Register.

The Rev. Lorenzo Ruiz, secretary for Hispanic affairs, couldn't be reached yesterday, nor could archdiocesan officials.

Removing a priest's faculties (his right to operate as a priest) is a severe measure for a bishop to take and implies the priest has broken some church law.

It usually means no other bishop will allow the priest to function in his diocese either.

In the Nov. 16 edition of the Register, the weekly archdiocesan newspaper, a one-paragraph itemsaid Ruiz "has been removed from the Office of Secretary for Hispanic Affairs. The priestly faculties of the Archdiocese of Denver have also been removed."

The two sentences appeared under the "Official" announcements from the archbishop's office.

Priests of the archdiocese were faxed a similar short statement from Denver Archbishop J. Francis Stafford several days ago in which Stafford cited a canon (church) law to support his action against Ruiz.

A native of Clovis, N.M., Ruiz was 47 when he came to Denver from Holy Family Church in Albuquerque in 1987 to succeed the Rev. Eugene Canas as secretary for Hispanic affairs in this archdiocese.

He completed his semi-nary studies in Ohio and was ordained in Santa Fe in 1967.

More than 25 percent of the 340,000 Catholics in the archdiocese, which includes most of northern Colorado, are Hispanic.


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