PIC TAKEN ON JULY 19, 2023 BY OUR CORRESPONDENTS IN SPAIN
"Journalism is, among all auxiliary institutions of law, the one that has served it most often and the one that could serve it most continuously and effectively." EUGENIO MARÍA DE HOSTOS
PUBLISHED IN JACQUESPINTOR.COM ON 20 JULY, 2023 AT 14.15 HOURS IN MONTERREY.
In some instances, when one faces a crisis and the media narrative, directed as it is in this case toward the same point, starting from the same point, it is worth considering the situation from the opposite perspective: We could consider as a premise that the Mariano Sanctuary of Torreciudad operates at a deficit. Its reliability allows the Patronato de Torreciudad, a civil, non-ecclesiastical entity, to have the capacity to request and generate money. We insist, it is the patronato. The rector, no matter how much he may also serve as a parish priest in order to further root the work, vision, and mission of the Sanctuary in the land from where the millennial Virgin of Torreciudad comes, cannot handle funds other than those from the collection, which amount to a deficit in covering the costs involved in the functioning of the Sanctuary.
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IN THIS ENTRY: MARIAN DAY OF THE FAMILY ECLIPSED BY INVITED BISHOP . some economic clues to the current crisis . administrative clues . conspiration clues . clues related to the human nature
A NEW ATTACK ON THE OPUS DEI MARIAN DAY OF THE FAMILY OF TORRECIUDAD, ECLIPSED BY INVITED BISHOP
SOME ECONOMIC CLUES TO THE CURRENT CRISIS
The Diocese of Barbastro-Monzón would allegedly like to receive around 190,000 Euros per year, one Euro per pilgrim, a figure that some media outlets have estimated the Diocese would like to update to between 5 and 25 Euros per pilgrim. It has been reported in some media that Torreciudad currently pays the Diocese around 19 Euros annually. In reality, we are told by the Delegation of Media that it is 21 Euros and some cents.
This money would be a fee for the custody of the original image, which was rescued by Saint Josemaría, restored by the Patronato, and has been maintained over the decades. The quasi-millennial image has always been recognized as the property of the Diocese, just like the hermitage, which is a short walk down the path from the esplanade of the sanctuary towards the dam. The Patronato also maintains that hermitage, saving the Diocese tens of thousands of Euros each year.
At this juncture, it would be appropriate to note that Escrivá did not exploit Barbastro or the area. Until the 1960s, there was no road to reach the small hermitage of the Virgin of Torreciudad other than by donkey. Now, it has become a global pilgrimage center, which has incurred no cost to the diocese. Another point to be made: it was Escrivá who achieved the status of diocese for Barbastro. It was so small that it was initially not accepted. Later, it merged with Monzón, a larger town located 10 km away with 15,000 inhabitants.
It is also worth analyzing why Torreciudad continues to pay a sum to the Diocese when it receives no aid, privilege, or service in return. Some might argue that the Diocese should pay an amount to help maintain Torreciudad since it brings them benefits in terms of publicity, prestige, and economic gains through religious tourism and visits to the sites related to Saint Josemaría in Barbastro or from Barbastro. After all, the Diocese is not a landowner, and Torreciudad is not an ecclesiastical property.
Now it seems that the Diocese, although denied by its communication team, not only desires an amount between 5 and 25 Euros per pilgrim but also wants a shortlist of names for the Bishop of Barbastro-Monzón to choose a rector who is also a parish priest. Haste has prevailed, and the Diocese have already appointed their rector these days
Another aspect of this issue is that the Diocese of Barbastro-Monzón does not take into account that each pilgrim generates costs with their visit, in terms of electricity, staff, water, maintenance, insurance, etc. In Torreciudad, there are no shops, bars, or restaurants. There is only a 25-square-meter café or coffee lounge without staff, with full menus available for 10 Euros by request (7 Euros for children), three vending machines, and a bookstore and souvenir shop. And there is a lot of staff to attend to the needs of the pilgrims. The exhibitions and audio expos are free.
It is important to know that this unilaterally and invalidly elected rector by the Diocese, Rev. Mairal, is already a parish priest in the area for years and is the fluent liaison of Torreciudad for parish matters, such as weddings and baptisms, which belong to parish life and must be registered in a Diocesan parish. For decades, this has been effectively, efficiently, and happily carried out by Rev. Mairal, who shows great affection for Torreciudad and a good friendship with the current rector, Rev. Ángel Lasheras.
The possibility of having an Opus Dei parish priest (in Torreciudad, the rector is not a parish priest) in a Diocesan church is already present in numerous churches around the world: many bishops entrust a parish church to the Prelature of opus Dei, and the parish priest is appointed by the Prelate of Opus Dei, through his delegated vicar in the region, to whom the Diocesan Bishop requests assistance from priests of the Work. What seems novel in this crisis between the Diocese and Torreciudad is the fact that the Diocese of Barbastro-Monzón would like to place one of their parish priests in an Opus Dei church-sanctuary. It appears to be just the opposite of what happens in the world at large, whether in the case of Opus Dei or another private institution that manages a Sanctuary. One wonders: Does the Bishop need some support to strategically intervene like an elephant in a china shop and believe he has the right to do so, disregarding the canonical and civil positive law that protects private initiatives?
Having seen that the events unfolding are known beforehand and "better" through the Internet portal Religión Digital, setting aside the insults, slanders, and offenses against Opus Dei common to this portal and the mentally and physically disheveled Mr Jesus Bastante, its chief editor, one comes to the conclusion that the much-talked-about support they have in the bishopric remains the same as always, that of the Jesuit Germán Arana, close friend of Jesuit Giancarlo Ghirlanda, author of Pope's motu proprio "Ad Charisma Tuendum".
However, what is intended from the offices of the diocese of Barbastro-Monzón undoubtedly goes beyond what is acceptable and possible. This is so because with the bishop's request for a shortlist from the Sanctuary, the aim is to integrate the pastoral activity of the Sanctuary into the jurisdictional structure of the diocese. This has a positive aspect, which would be the readiness and capability of the sanctuary to conduct the liturgy proper to a parish, namely the administration of the sacraments of Christian initiation (baptisms, communions, and confirmations) and weddings. But that undoubtedly needs to be reconciled with the will of the Prelature, which, according to the statutes of the Sanctuary, is the rightful manager. All this must be done in agreement with the diocesan hierarchy; thus, the changes cannot be unilaterally determined without negotiation. The Law is something sacred, as when right is not followed, mafias and favoritism emerge. Apparently, under current law, the bishop cannot appoint the rector of Torreciudad since the sanctuary is not under the Diocese. Additionally, there seems to be a strong animosity from Barbastro towards Opus Dei, which has grown into a multinational entity rather than a local trade.
CLUES RELATED TO THE HUMAN NATURE
It is important to recall, as it is public knowledge, that saint Josemaria Escrivá used to say that people from Barbastro are very money-minded and pursue money. It is known that the diocese faces a shortage of priests and funds, and many of them devote their time to non-spiritual tasks, such as managing the assets of rural properties (see the case of the young Colombian priest Juan David), or most of them, in their old age, have a rather light pastoral role due to their situation. Torreciudad cannot be seen as a tempting cake, as the priests there have nothing but expenses and rely on donations from the board of the Patronato to balance the deficit caused by these expenses.
Reverend Mairal is a man of the office, a judicial vicar, and I hope he observes carefully what the sanctuary offers that generates the reliability behind those donations, which are linked to devotion, in order to learn to replicate the same elsewhere in the diocese. Ultimately, it is the warmth and empathy, the concern for the pilgrim's needs, benevolence and generosity, combined with cleanliness and decorum in the liturgy, etc., that I believe create that "spiritual oasis" situation. Let us not turn it into another (pharaonic, yes) parish for which they will not know how to sustain and which will not evoke international devotion because it would have a small-town spirit, a deep Spain cave-like atmosphere, with an almost nonagenarian at the helm, sitting at a desk, and with less than a dozen parishioners.
PICTURE TAKEN ON JULY 19, 2023, BY OUR CORRESPONDENTS IN SPAIN - EXHIBITION HALL OF STATUES DONATED BY PILGRIMAGES, SANCTUARY'S CRYPT
To be continued.
LA SEGUNDA EDICIÓN, PUBLICADA EL 15 DE JULIO DE 2023
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