Sunday, May 12, 2024

After prayer for Pope's death: Media ban imposed on priest

Following a call for prayers for the imminent death of Pope Francis on a YouTube channel, the Archbishop of Toledo has imposed sanctions against the priest who made the call. 

"By direct order of my archbishop, I am forced to suspend my activities on all my networks and to interrupt my media activities," wrote Francisco José Delgado on Tuesday morning on the platform "X" (formerly Twitter). 

The Archdiocese of Toledo had already distanced itself from him and another participating priest from the archdiocese after the incident became known and had not ruled out legal action against them.

Delgado also emphasised that his withdrawal was not of his own free will. "I have no choice but to defend myself against a slander of which I hope one day to be able to give details." 

Despite the "persecution", he maintains his view of being faithful to the Church of Christ and its visible head, Pope Francis. "I offer all the sufferings of this situation for the conversion of those who harm the Church from without and from within."

"Counter-revolutionary priestly regulars' table"

Several Spanish and Latin American priests - including two from the Archdiocese of Toledo - had said in a live video on YouTube at the end of February that they would pray for the death of Pope Francis. 

"I pray a lot for the Pope, that he goes to heaven as soon as possible," said the other cleric from the archdiocese of Toledo. Most of the other clerics echoed this intention and said they were also praying for Francis' speedy death. 

The priests recorded the video on 22 February, the feast of the Cathedra of Peter. 

The operators describe their YouTube channel as a "counter-revolutionary priests' regulars' table", where they comment on church topics from a traditionalist perspective.

Following growing public criticism of their statements in the video, the priests said that they had been misunderstood and apologised for their choice of words. They had spoken about the Pope "in a humorous way". 

The Archdiocese of Toledo emphasised that it condemns any kind of dislike of the Holy Father. 

The two priests from the archdiocese had been informed that they would have to publicly ask for forgiveness for their words because they had offended the church community and outraged the faithful.  

At the beginning of March, the operators of the channel announced that it would be paused until further notice. 

However, videos were posted again at the end of April. 

The other priest from the archdiocese of Toledo, who issued the call to prayer, could no longer be seen in the more recent videos: According to the Spanish news site "Religión Digital", he was also banned from the media by his archbishop.