Spanish priest is removed from his Costa Blanca parish for calling Pope Francis a ‘heretic’

THE bishop of the Orihuela-Alicante diocese has suspended San Isidro’s parish priest for branding Pope Francis a ‘heretic’.

Bishop Jose Iganacio Munilla took the tough stance after statements made by Francisco Jose Vegara on February 6.

The priest, 54, issued a 20-page manifesto which featured a strong broadside against the Pontiff.


He said that: “In matters of doctrine and faith there is no room for human respect, but all silence is guilty,”- in reference to the Pope’s liberal stance on gay marriage and baptisms.

Vegara called Francis a ‘fake pope’ and described him as a ‘heretic’.

His comments didn’t sit well with Bishop Munilla who decided ‘in light of the statements made by the priest Francisco Jose Vegara’ to remove him from any position within the Orihuela-Alicante diocese.

Munilla said that ‘on his own behalf and on behalf of the entire diocesan church of Orihuela-Alicante’, he pledged his full support for Pope Francis and the ‘communion of faith, charity and obedience, filial and fraternal, with the one whom the Lord has chosen as the Successor of Peter’.


The diocese said that Munilla and his colleagues met with the rebel priest in recent months to listen to his views and to talk with him.

His stance was immovable and he received a formal written warning to stop his attacks on the Pope Francis, before that was upgraded to a suspension.

In a statement the diocese says that during talks between the parties, ‘personal conditions that may be affecting his behaviour and the proper exercise of his pastoral ministry’ have been verified.

The diocese did not elaborate on what those ‘personal conditions’ were.

Francisco Jose Vegara has confirmed that he has been removed from his job and his licences to practice as a priest have been suspended.

He claims that San Isidro parishioners could not understand the decision to get rid of him and that he’s acted at all times with his ‘conscience’.

“I can’t celebrate Mass in public, and my episcopal license to administer confession has been taken away,” he said.

The priest added that he hasn’t found anybody to refute his stance by which he regards Pope Francis as a ‘heretic’,

Disciplinary proceedings against the outspoken cleric could even result in excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.


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