Saturday, February 4, 2017

Traditional Friendly Archbishop Dismissed in Filippines

Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Arguelles of Lipa was prematurely retired from his office yesteday, clearly because of his position on a non-approved "Marian Apparition"

(Manila) Pope Francis received the resignation yesterday of Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles of Lipa in the Philippines as it is revealed in the daily bulletin of the Vatican. At the same time, he appointed a successor, the Monsignor Gilbert Garcera, whom he transferred from the bishop's seat from Daet to Lipa.
The retirement of Archbishop Argüelles took place prematurely. The Archbishop is only 72 years old. The reference to Canon 401.2 does not provide any information as to whether he has resigned due to health problems or because of serious misconduct. A corresponding clarification of the Code of Canon Law has been suggested several times in recent years.

A Non-Approved "Marian Apparition" of Lipa

Archbishop Ramon Argüelles gained international fame in the past when, in 2015, he declared the authenticity of Lipa's alleged Marian credentials as "believable" and announced that he was convinced of the "supernatural" nature of the phenomenon.

The Archbishop, with a Marienstatue, who was supposed to haveappeared  in 1948 to the Carmelite, Teresita Castillo.

Already in 2009, the Archbishop had abrogated the negative judgment of a commission of bishops. At the beginning of the 1950s several Philippine bishops had been charged with the study of the phenomenon. On 11 April 1951, the Commission concluded that the alleged phenomena were "not of a supernatural origin". A decision which had been approbated by Pope Pius XII.
On August 18, 1948 in the Carmelite convent of Lipa the novice Teresita Castillo was supposed to have received an apparition of the Mother of God. According to Teresita, there were a total of 19 "apparitions" in which the monastic garden was showered with rose petals from the sky, each bearing sacred images. The images on the rose petals, which are kept in Lipa, were the Jesus Child, St. Joseph, the blessing Jesus, the Holy Family, the Holy Spirit, the Crucified, the Last Supper and other motifs were to be seen. In the last apparition, Mary had presented herself as the "Mediator of all Graces".

Phenomena only "feigned" -- bishop who believes in authenticity, dismissed

The then Bishop of Lipa, Monsignor Alfredo Verzosa y Florentin, was convinced of the authenticity after having been shown a desired miracle. Rome, however, was skeptical and established a theological commission, which in 1949 made a negative judgment. The phenomenon of Lipa is only "feigned" by Teresita and was nevertheless "supported" by the prioress.
Bishop Verzosa was deposed from Rome. The Apostolic Administrator, who was, among several other  Filipino bishops under the commission established by Pius XII,, also came to a negative conclusion.

Bishop Verzosa, behind him the Superior, on the left stand Teresita Castillo (Lipa 1948)

However, the fact that there were conversions and healings in Lipa was interpreted by the Commission with the awakened expectations that people were open for God's work.
Bishop Verzosa was prematurely made emeritus, while his auxiliary bishop, the prioress and the subprioress of the monastery were transferred. The statue of the "appeared" could no longer be shown publicly. The Carmelite convent was dissolved, but the monastery later resettled.

Recognition by the Archbishop -- Intervention of Rome

The pilgrim's stream to Lipa did not abate despite the prohibitions but increased over the years. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the "apparitions," Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the then Philippine President of the Republic had also pilgrimaged to Lipa.
The diocese of Lipa was raised to an archdiocese in 1972. Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, the predecessor of Monsignor Argüelles, reopened the public exhibition of the statue in 1992 and initiated new investigations into the phenomenon. This led Archbishop Argüelles to annul the negative verdict of 1951. In 2013 the beatification procedure for Bishop Verzosa was initiated. In 2015, Archbishop Argüelles declared the phenomenon to be "credible" and "supernatural".
In the same year, however, the Roman Congregation for Congregation intervened and declared on 15 September 2015 the decision of the Archbishop "null and void". The decision of 1951 was definitive. The Archbishop was no longer empowered. The corresponding Roman document was handed over to the Archbishop on May 30, On 16 November 2016 the Carmelite and "Seer" Teresita Castillo died at the age of 89 years. Yesterday, Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Arguelles was made emeritus.

[Update] Franciscans of the Immaculata

Archbishop Arguelles, who in the wake of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum celebrated in the traditional form of the Roman Rite was still "negatively" apprized in another part in Rome. In July 2013, the traditional young order, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate was placed under the provisional administration of the Congregation of Religious with the approval of Pope Francis. One reason for this compulsion has not been mentioned to this day. Because of the direct attack against the religious charism, tradition and the traditional Rite, members of the Order tried to find ways out of the constraint. What was contemplated, among other things, was the new foundation as an old ritual Order, which would no longer be subordinated to the Congregation of Religious, but the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei . The Vatican, however, refused and forbade any to leave the Order.
A total of six priests of the Order were also suspended in the Philippines because they tried to reestablish the Order. On June 28, 2014 in the Archdiocese of Lipa, the recognition of a public association of the faithful had taken place, as then Riposte Catholique reported. The recognition was thought of as a precursor to a new foundation test of maltreated Order of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate . Accordingly, the Apostolic Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, reacted sharply, suspending the priests involved in the Order. When the matter became public, the commissioner made a public statement that spoke in a mocking tone of "ultra-traditionalist" circles, but only vaguely about the alleged "misconduct" of the priests which would justify their suspension.
Archbishop Arguelles offered the five Philippine Franciscans of the Immaculate, who had been suspended, a celebret in his archdiocese. He was by no means popular in certain Roman circles. Shortly after the incident in the Philippines Commissioner Volpi threatened Italian bishops,  if they should dare to establish Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in their dioceses. At the same time, the Commissioner asserted in all seriousness that the Franciscans of the Immaculate wanted to "overthrow" Pope Francis.
The premature end of his term of office is seen in the Philippines in the context of his attitude to the events of Lipa. A connection with the Franciscans of the Immaculate is not excluded. The Archbishop had not been popular in Rome.
According to reports from Messa in Latino, Archbishop Arguelles learned from the Internet of his dismissal. There would be no question of a resignation which the pope had "accepted."  In Daily Bulletin there is an official version that says nothing about the background. Archbishop Arguelles would thus feel the "merciful" arm of Pope Francis get as Bishop Rogelio Livieres of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay experienced it. Under a pretext, Msgr. Livieres had been lured to Rome, where Pope Francis let him stand in front of closed doors, while at home the locks of the bishop's residence were changed. In spite of the bishop's insistence, Francis refused to listen to the bishop who had been deposed. Bishop Livieres was neither given "dialogue" nor "mercy". The "guilt" of Bishop Livieres was that he was too traditional and had succeeded with his priestly seminary, which had almost three times as many seminarians as all the other dioceses of the country together. He had become the "trouble maker" in a   bishop's conference riddled indifferentism and liberation theology.
There is also a shadow over the retirement of Archbishop Argüelles.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: PCN /
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches...


PaxTecum77 said...

I googled the apparition of Our Lady in the Philippines. I thought it would be another Medjugorje, I don't think so. From what I have read so far, the message of Our Lady is one of spiritual warfare that gives Hope. So many miracles witnessed by many. I wonder if those who condemned these apparitions are not just a bunch of Modernists. What Our Lady said is a must read for all Traditionalist Catholics.

Tancred said...

The feeling I get was that the Bishop's colleagues in Filippines didn't think much of him.

JBQ said...

The Phillipines is a hotbed of religious fervor. This cannot be denied. For this reason, they are under attack from Islam on Mindanao. The modernists cannot understand this and will not tolerate this aberration from the modern way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Time to reinstitute traditional Holy Orders for Bishops and Priests (older clerics should receive holy orders conditionally from a valid bishop) and the 1945 Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
You're right about Islam and we need the Holy Trinity on our side!!!

Marie said...

After the Carmelite convent in Lipa was dissolved, Teresita Castillo worked with Redemptorist priests at the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, near Manila.

Priests in Baclaran described her as a humble but well-educated lady who helped compile the authoritative Pilipino-English Dictionary published by Australian Redemptorists. She apparently also helped in the kitchen in the priests' convent and did her marketing for fish and vegetables in the chaotic open-street markets in Baclaran, but people did not recognize her.

Two aunts of mine took me on a pilgrimage to Lipa when I was just a baby in 1949. I never knew what it was all about. Reports say that among the messages Teresita received from the apparition was a warning about China.

Anonymous said...

He may be "trad friendly" but he was also very friendly with Vassula Ryden whose supposed revelations were condemned by the CDF. Nonetheless, Abp. Arguelles continued to promote her and put his imprimatur on her books.

Anonymous said...


You are right that Lipa is not like Medjugorje. There is nothing of the scandal that marks the latter vis-a-vis the seer of Lipa (see the comment by @Marie below). Nor is there at Lipa the atmosphere of money-making. Moreover, when one goes there the simple faith and sincerity of the local pilgrims is very evident. There is no hint of seeking the sensational. Nonetheless, I know someone who saw the miracle of the sun there, and I have smelled the odor of roses while praying the rosary in the side chapel there. And there are many such stories, told simply and without attachment. When the 2015 CDF final ruling became public, both I and my acquaintance were willing to accept it, as I am sure also many other Lipa pilgrims. Most importantly, I do remember that Archbishop Arguelles himself acquiesced and would not contest it. Yet the main stream media here in the Philippines is now reporting the Archbishop's so-called 'resignation' as being due to his disenchantment over the CDF ruling. I don't believe it for an instant.


Thanks for picking up on this story. You are right that Arguelles's colleagues don't think much of him. On one hand, it's true that Arguelles tends to believe anything (see the comment by Anonymous February 4, 2017 at 4:15 PM). On the other hand, also, the leading Filipino bishops, and likely the majority, are deep into Francis's "new springtime" and are no friends of tradition. An up-and-coming bishop, locally considered to be Tagle's successor, recently gave this homily at the local Jesuit theologate, in which he turns to Nietzsche ("God is dead") in order to propose to the theologate an educational model for "spiritual evolution":

My own view is that the FFI is the real reason for the removal of the bishop, and that the Lipa affair is being used as an opportune cover. By the way, there has been another miracle of the sun here, not in Lipa but in Bataan, coinciding with all these current local events:

Anonymous said...

If Francischurch "resigned" the bishop because of the apparition and the TLM, that tells me the apparition is 100% authentic

Anonymous said...

Won't happen until post Fatima chastisement, good thing is that chastisement is not far off.

Anonymous said...

Well lets see, from the same time period (1950's on) they hid the 3rd secret of Fatima, denied our Lady's request to consecrate Russia, buried Garabandal, put immense pressure on Bishop Ito to reject Akita and yet from the 1980's on played footsies with the medjugorje HOAX not condemning something clearly not of God. In summary, Ii can see faithless bishops hiding this apparition especially if it says something about China taking territory from the Philippines. We know how Bergoglio loves to appease the Chicom devils.

Anonymous said...

Teresita died last November. Teresita warned about China

Anonymous said...

Please be careful with private revelation.
Learn the deposit of faith and obey the true Magisterium.

Marie said...

Yes, you're right. Arguelles was wrong, in the first place because Vassula was not under his jurisdiction and therefore Arguelles has no authority to pass judgement on her writings. Secondly, he disobeyed CDF's non-approval of Vassula and prohibition from distributing her books.

However, I think Teresita Castillo's case is vastly different from Vassula's.

Teresita's story was not in the New-Agey style of "automatic writing." She kept a diary which was ordered burned by the commission of bishops that first looked into her case. She remained silent for almost 50 years. It was only a few years before she died at age 89 that she retold her story in a series of five articles here:

Anonymous said...

Please be careful with not promoting (or being timid) with regards to our Lady's words, performing her desires AND obeying the mandate of heaven. Fatima is more than just a "private revelation" to be dismissed casually.

PaxTecum77 said...

If Bishop Arguelles approval of Vassula Ryden got him in trouble, why has Cardinal Shoenborn not been removed. Even after Rome's declaration that the Medjugorge alleged apparitions were not of supernatural origin, Cardinal Shoenborn made a pilgrimage there, causing the faithful to be scandalized with his defiance. Would Rome place sanctions against Shoenborn as they did with Bishop Arguelles? Of course not as Shoenburn is a Modernist heretic and is under the protection of the merciful Bergoglio.

Marie said...


Arguelles did not "pass judgement" (nihil obstat) on Vassula's writings. It was Bishop Toppo of India that did that. What Arguelles gave was an "Imprimatur," the permission to publish the books.

Arguelles gave the Imprimatur on the basis of then Cardinal Ratzinger, CDF prefect's notification that said people may read Vassula's writings, but must be very careful because there are problems in them (it was a warning, not a condemnation.) Also that Vassula is not Catholic and has been twice (?) divorced.

It was only later, during the time of Cardinal Levada as CDF prefect that Vassula's books were officially condemned by the Church.

Anyway, what's bothersome with the above report is the alleged similarity in papal treatment of Lipa Archbishop Arguelles and Paraguay Bishop Livieres. Livieres was made to wait for the pope to fire him in front of closed doors while unknown to him, workmen were already changing the door locks of his bishop's residence in Ciudad del Este. Is Arguelles being treated the same way?

I wouldn't be surprised. Teresita was treated that way, too, by the Papal Nuncio in Manila in her time. She went to report to him and ask for his blessings after she was purged out of Carmel by the new French prioress. Instead of a blessing, the papal nuncio called her a "devil," kicked her out of his office and slammed the door at her.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. When it came to private revelations, the worst that can be said of Arguelles was that he was over-exuberant. But for him it was neither heretically nor politically driven. It was more his personal quirk. And he really didn't push these things. His ardent promotion was really on two things: Lipa and Marian devotion in general. Yet in the end he gave in on Lipa. Hardly something to remove him for, and in such a manner. But there were other things for which he became detested by many ecclesial colleagues. During the fight against government providing free artificial contraception and abortifacient contraceptives to the people, he was one of the very few among local bishops to speak loudly and strongly against it (most of our other bishops, including our most famous ones, actually supported it, and kept silence). And Arguelles alone protected the FFI.

Anonymous said...

Fatima is private revelation.
It doesn't matter if 5 Billion people saw Fatima.
Anything after the Death of St.John on the Island of Patmos is optional.
We acknowledge Fatima happened as its approved by the church BUT,we are not required to obey or anticipate any part of the revelation.
This is basic Catholicism 101 my friend.Ask your local priest he will tell you the same thing.

Marie said...

It was within Abp. Arguelles's authority to reopen the case of the apparition and after renewed investigation, declare it authentic.

Trouble is, his declaration goes against the initial judgement of a panel of bishops in the 1950's - none of whom were connected with Lipa (then a diocese) and all of them are now dead.

There were reports that one or two of those bishops retracted the verdict on their deathbed, claiming that they were coerced to rule against the apparition. I wonder who coerced them?

One of the bishops (later Cardinal) Rufino J. Santos, reportedly told Teresita that it was the Blessed Mother's will that she suffered for the rest of her life as a victim for priests and nuns. It seems that Santos, too, believed in the apparition, but why did he not speak up as a member of that panel?

Woody said...

Another strike against the archbishop, I'm sure, is that he had a seminary for the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) in his diocese; they are another group that is disfavored in certain circles in Rome, one hears.

Anonymous said...


marysong said...

Lipa is very very important. Amazon has a book: Lipa by June Keithley who is a prominent broadcast journalist and TV person in the Phillipines. 'Lipa' has been researched thoroughly by this author and it is AMAZING!