Bishops ask Pope to remove priest over abuse

Catholic News Service

Dec. 27, 2019

By Martha Pskowski

The Mexican Episcopal Conference released a communique on 10 December, calling on the Legionaries of Christ to ask Pope Francis to remove priest Fernando Martínez Suárez from the clerical order. The bishops wrote that there has been no material action to repair the harm caused by Martínez Suárez, who is accused of abusing children as far back as 1969.

The Legionaries of Christ released a report on allegations against the priest on 22 November. The report includes reports of Martínez Suárez abusing a boy in 1969 and a girl in 1990 at the Cumbres Institute that the Legionaries operate in Mexico City. It also documents that the priest abused six girls at the Cumbres Institute in Cancun, between 1991 and 1993.

The Legionaries’ report acknowledges there was a grave error, “to assign in this case a priest who had already committed abuses to a pastoral post in another place with children and young people”.

The general secretary of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, and auxiliary bishop of Monterrey, Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, signed the communique along with the National Council for the Protection of Minors. They called for the Legionaries of Christ to take more direct action, and for Martínez Suárez to return to Mexico from Italy, where he has been living.

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