Archbishop Héctor Ruben Aguer
(Buenos Aires) The Archdiocese of La Plata responded to recent media reports with a statement that Archbishop Hector Ruben Aguer, the Argentine compatriot of the Pope, had already submitted his resignation to Francis for his 75th birthday.
Everything has already been decided, according to the report by the daily El Día on 9 May. Archbishop Aguer has offered his resignation and his successor, titular Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, is ready.
The Archdiocesan Press Office said on the same day that Canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law requires bishops to offer their resignation to the Pope at the age of 75. It is up to the Pope alone to decide if and when he accepts this resignation.
"Meanwhile, Mgsr. Aguer continues his usual work without changing the agenda he has defined. "
The statement does not seem to deny the media reports at first sight, but it does provide a clarification. It notes that Archbishop Aguer will not turn 75 until the 24th of May. In other words: the claimed resignation request does not exist yet. Only at the age of 75 will Msgr. Aguer, "as prescribed in the aforementioned canonical provision", submit his resignation petition to the Pope.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio with Victor Manuel Fernandez
By the end of April, media reports had surfaced that one of Pope Francis' closest associates, his ghostwriter Victor Manuel Fernandez, had resigned from the post of rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina to become the new Archbishop of La Plata.
Archbishop Hector Ruben Aguer is considered to be Pope Francis' most important anti-church opponents in his native Argentina (see Bergoglios Lonely Opponent - Where no Bells rang on March 13, 2013), Or.
Archbishop Aguer was Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires at the same time as Jorge Mario Bergoglio. At the end of his life Cardinal Antonio Quarrancino, the archbishop of the Argentine capital, favored Bergoglio and not Aguer for his successor. The two auxiliary bishops held different positions, with those Bergoglios Cardinal Quarrancino was ultimately closer. While Bergoglio became Archbishop of Buenos Aires and thus cardinal, Aguer became archbishop of La Plata and conservative opponent of Bergoglios in the Argentine Episcopal Conference, where they led different groups.
After his election as Pope Francis dismantled the Aguer group among the Argentine bishops, but left Aguer himself in office. It has long been speculated in Argentina that Francis is just waiting for his opponent to celebrate his 75th birthday in order to emeritus him. Pope Benedict XVI. extended archbishops usually for at least two years in office. The appointment of Titular Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez as his successor would be an even greater humiliation for Aguer.
Francis is known to defend opponents of his office as a rule fast, while leaving party members generously in office.
Through the press release of the Archdiocese of La Plata, Rome was signaled that Msgr. Aguer would follow exactly the rules of canon law, but that he would not give the field of his free will.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: La Tercera / MiL (Screenshots)
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