Vatican order closes Argentine seminary

The Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy ordered an Argentine seminary to close, says Argentine bishop Eduardo Maria Taussig of San Rafael.

Taussig (pictured) says the closure of the seminary in his diocese was ordered after a controversy surrounding the reception of the Eucharist during the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic.

He also noted the Congregation said that due to the trouble the seminary had to maintain a rector (it has had seven in the past 15 years) it did not seem worth it to keep the seminary open.

The Vatican’s decision to close the Argentine seminary of Santa Maria Madre de Dios Seminary in December when the academic year ends took Taussig by surprise.

“But it is a directive that comes directly from the Holy See,” he says.

“As a bishop, I know that when Rome has spoken, the discussion is over.”

“We bishops make a promise of fidelity and obedience to the Holy Father,” said Taussig, adding that the Vatican has many perspectives to consider when making decisions and that these decisions were made in light of similar situations around the world.

He has been discussing with the Vatican where the students will be sent to continue their studies.

“We are going to discern for each [seminarian] and decide the most appropriate school and timeline for their transfer. Some will go to Mendoza, to San Juan. We will see these changes in the coming weeks.”

Last month when Taussig’s diocese announced the seminary’s upcoming closure, he noted “difficulties that the diocese is going through were taken into consideration, in the context of the measures related to COVID-19 prevention, and the reluctance or lack of obedience to the provisions that had been established.”

A large number of the priests in the San Rafael diocese have not complied with COVID-19 directives regarding the distribution of communion in the hand.

Among these priests are many former students of the Santa Maria Madre de Dios seminary, which has been seen by some to be behind the priest’s “reluctance” to require communion in the hand, Taussig says.

This refusal to comply had caused “serious scandal inside and outside the seminary and diocese,” he adds, pointing out that receiving the Eucharist in the hand or on the tongue are both equally accepted by the Church.


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