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The Vatican's nuncio to Mexico Franco Coppola. The Vatican's nuncio to Mexico Franco Coppola.

Vatican envoy’s trip to Aguililla a pointed message to Mexico’s bishops

Papal nuncio told a meeting of bishops that they do nothing for the Catholic community

The Vatican’s envoy to Mexico has chastised the country’s bishops for being estranged from the faithful, according to a religion expert.

In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, Elio Masferrer said that Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to Mexico, “read the riot act” to bishops at a recent meeting of Catholic Church leaders.

Coppola told them that their administration of the church has become a disaster, Masferrer said. The papal nuncio gave the bishops “a pull on their ears,” telling them that it’s not their job to be “comfortably seated” in their offices, he said.

Masferrer also said that Coppola has openly told Mexican bishops that they do nothing for the Catholic community. He recalled that Pope Francis also criticized Mexican bishops for being more concerned with worldly matters than their diocesan communities.

Masferrer said that Catholic Church in Mexico needs to commit itself more to the nation’s millions of believers and those who suffer the most. He advised church leaders to follow in the footsteps of Salvador Rangel, bishop of the Chilapa-Chilpancingo diocese in Guerrero, who is well known for facilitating dialogue and seeking truces between feuding narcos.

The aftermath of a Cartel Jalisco New Generation assault on the Aguililla municipal seat on March 31.
The aftermath of a Jalisco New Generation Cartel assault on the Aguililla municipal seat on March 31.

“If Christ died on the cross for going into Jerusalem to speak with his disciples, the bishops have to follow that model,” Masferrer said.

Coppola, an Italian who has been nuncio to Mexico since 2016, will practice what he preaches when he travels to the violence-stricken municipality of Aguililla, Michoacán, to celebrate Mass.

He will travel to Apatzingán on Thursday at the invitation of Apatzingán Bishop Cristóbal Ascencio García.

According to a statement issued by the diocese, Coppola will travel the 84 kilometers from Apatzingán to Aguililla by land without private security on Friday so that he can offer blessings to the people and communities along the way, including El Aguaje, where state police were attacked by drones on Tuesday.

Michoacán police reopened the Apatzingán-Aguililla highway earlier this week after it was affected for months by blockades set up by criminal groups.

Coppola is scheduled to meet with Aguililla families affected by violence on Friday morning before officiating at a Mass at a local school. Later in the day, he will attend a lunch in his honor offered by the Aguililla community.

In short, he will have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with the locals and thus set a powerful example to the bishops he criticized for being too distanced from their parishioners.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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