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Photo by Vladimir Šoić on Unsplash
Photo by Vladimir Šoić on Unsplash
World News

Spanish nuns take legal action against priest, citing 'abuse of power'

by Lydia Davies

A group of nuns from the Convent of the Poor Clares of Santa Clara de Belorado, in northern Spain, have declared a schism with the Vatican following a property dispute.

This division arose amid doctrinal disagreements, leading them to affiliate with a dissenting priest.

The Church has threatened ex-communication for the 16 nuns involved.

The nuns, part of the Order of St Clare, publicly announced their departure from the Church through social media, citing persecution by church authorities over a property dispute as their reason. The post also included a 70-page 'manifesto'.

In the posted letter, signed by the convent's Mother Superior, Sister Isabel de la Trinidad, the nuns said they had broken away because they were being "persecuted by the church hierarchy over the property dispute". They also accused the Vatican of "doctrinal chaos" and "contradictions" in its positions on matters of faith.

AFP reported that in 2020, the nuns had agreed to purchase another convent but claimed they could not proceed with the sale due to the Vatican's intervention. They accused the Vatican of creating obstacles that prevented them from funding the new purchase by selling an unused property.

The nuns have now placed themselves under the guidance of Pablo de Rojas Sanchez-Franco, an ex-communicated priest with self-confessed "ultra-conservative" beliefs, including sedevacantism, which denies the legitimacy of post-1958 popes.

Archbishop Mario Iceta of Burgos has expressed his dismay at the nuns' decision to sever ties with the Vatican. He has attempted to engage in dialogue to resolve the situation but faced resistance when church representatives were denied entry into the convent. He expressed to AFP that "it is very painful to hear the Mother Superior say that the Pope is a usurper".

The nuns have taken legal action against the Church, claiming abuse of power, and have further accused the archdiocese of hindering their financial transactions.

The news outlet reported that despite attempts by the Church to reconcile, including extending deadlines for appearing before an ecclesiastical tribunal, relations have deteriorated.

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