Msgr. Carlos Castillo Mattasoglio, Archbishop of Lima since March 2019, recently distinguished himself with what can be described as very advanced words, after showing himself as uncompromising on refusing communion on the tongue.
Currently staying in Rome, Archbishop Castillo Mattasoglio, recently presented his proposal to replace priests with lay people in the parishes of the Peruvian capital.
The 71-year-old archbishop of Lima said he was asking the Holy See for permission “for various things that are not allowed,” including “for families, or couples, or groups of married couples or older lay adults to take over parishes.”
During a conference entitled “The crisis of the Bicentenary: tension, hatred, fear,” before approaching his project, Msgr. Castillo Mattasoglio declared: “I think that, as a Church, we are going to have to work hard to provide a Church closer to the people with greater equality.”
He went on to say, “This is what I'm trying to do right now. I went to Rome; I was there a long time, a month. I am encouraging them to give me permission for various things that are not allowed.
For example, for them to give me permission for families, or couples, or groups of married couples or older lay adults to take over parishes because it is better to send priests to study a little,” he added.
Thus, Archbishop Castillo proposes “that the laity act as pastors or heads of churches, keeping the communities up and running as they do when they [the priests] go to Europe.”
He illustrates his words with a curious comparison: “In Europe, there are churches, in Paris for example, which were built by lay people, and they maintain the Christian community without the need for priests.”- It would be interesting to know to what the bishop is referring.
He continues: “There’s a priest who celebrates Mass for them once a week or twice on Sunday, whatever it may be; but we have to think of more egalitarian ways, closer to the people.”
Msgr. Castillo Mattasoglio indicated that this is what is meant by “synodality” and “we did that in the consultation that we made in the synodal assembly” of the Archdiocese of Lima. “There were 800 delegates and we agreed on how make the Church in Lima,” he said.
Finally, the Peruvian Archbishop concluded that “the Pope wants the Church, on a Latin American and global level to organize itself according to the agreement that the authorities have together with the people themselves and thus move forward.”
“Archbishop Castillo’s proposal is contrary to canon law, as he himself recognized.”
Thus Canons 515 and 552, affirm that “the parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stable constituted a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor as its proper pastor under the authority of the diocesan bishop.”
“To become a pastor validly, one must be in the sacred order of the presbyterate,” states canon 521.
The Archbishop of Lima's “pastoral care” caused a stir. Last year, he decided that priests would no longer visit the sick, but would entrust communion to the sick to loved ones. No need to describe the sorrow and indignation of his priests.
He recently refused the Holy Eucharist to two faithful who wanted to communicate on the tongue. While one of the faithful knelt, he had to leave without the holy host, “ex-communicated” in a way, by a pastor who is ultimately only a mercenary.
It remains to be seen whether he himself will return empty-handed from his stay in Rome, or whether he will bring back exceptional decrees to continue to revolutionize his diocese.