In a news report that comes to us from our Spanish-language partners Adelante la Fe, OnePeterFive has learned that Bishop Toribio Ticona — an 81-year-old Bolivian prelate who is alleged to be living with a woman as husband and wife with two children — will be raised to the status of cardinal by Pope Francis. The report, provided in English by our friends at Adelante, is as follows:
Scandal: A Bishop “Married” with Children Will Be Created Cardinal by Francis
On May 2nd, 2018, Pope Francis announced that in the consistory to be celebrated on June 29th this year, Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, he will raise to the cardinalate monsignor Toribio Ticona, titular bishop of Timici and prelate emeritus of Corocoro, Bolivia. The 81-year-old bishop was born on April 25, 1937. He was ordered priest in 1967 and consecrated as Timici’s bishop and axiliary bishop of Potosí, Bolivia, on May 31st, 1986. In 1992 he was appointed prelate of Corocoro, retiring in 2012.
During his frequent visits to Oruro at the beginning of his office, the then bishop of Oruro and future Third World ideologist cardinal, Julio Terrazas Sandoval, CSsR, boasted visiting Oruro’s bishop and called him his “padrino” or sponsor, since he said he had been promoted to the bishopric thanks to Terrazas, who on several occasions as president of the Bolivian Conference of Bishops, and was obviously very influential on the other bishops and the Apostolic Nunciature.
Ticona participated in two ad limina visits, in 2008 and 2017. He served as alcalde, according to the local traditional customs of a 12-person community in Bolivia. During his ten year tenure in the Corocoro prelature, the Catholic flock went from 94.6% down to 87.6%, while the Protestant sects’ following grew. It is a well-known fact that while he was serving his office in Corocoro, he was living more uxorio with a lady in Oruro’s bishopric. She and her children are proud to be called wife and children of the Patacamaya bishop, as Bishop Toribio Ticona is also known.
The family of Monsignor Toribio Ticona, Patacamaya’s bishop, lived in up to three different places of residence in Oruro.
Since the 9th and 10th centuries, known as the Iron Century of Papacy, there has been no sure, reliable news of a concubinarian bishop being rewarded with the title of cardinal. Being a Prince of the Church entails an important responsibility for the office holder, since he directly serves the Petrine ministry. Therefore, a concubinarian cardinal’s promotion sends two messages: one, the Pope’s wish to eliminate priestly celibacy, and the other and more serious, that he has a “scapegoat” with which he can break the hierarchy of the Bolivian bishops. Two bishoprics and three other church circumscriptions are to be renewed this year. We can be sure that Bishop Barros’ case will be repeated in Bolivia, thanks to which Pope Francis would have, with [Bolivian president] Evo Morales’ backing, control over Bolivia’s Church, which would then have a marked leftist imprint.
Adelante la Fe
P.S. We have used the term, married, because his co-habitant partner properly speaks of “her husband”.
It is noteworthy, when trying to ascertain what other ideological characteristics Ticona might bring to the position, that the socialist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales — who famously gifted pope Francis a communist-themed “crucifix” in 2015 — is thrilled at the news that his friend, a “fighter for the rights of our people,” will be raised to cardinal.
On May 20th, Morales made clear his enthusiasm for the announcement in a set of tweets:
The National Catholic Register’s Rome Correspondent, Edward Pentin, has been attempting to get answers from the Vatican on the allegations about Ticona’s personal life, and though no statement has yet come from Rome, it appears that Ticona may be making a statement of some kind later today:
We will update this story if and when we learn more.
UPDATE – 5-29-2018 @ 10:55PM EST: Bishop Ticona has issued a statement denying the reports that he has a wife and children:
“As a result of the false accusation which is being spread in the media regarding my private life, it is my duty to declare and emphatically make clear that its content does not correspond to the truth,” Bishop Ticona said in a statement released by the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference.
The bishop said he interprets the rumors as an attack not only against himself, but against Pope Francis, who recently chose him to be elevated to the position of cardinal.
“If these accusations persist, I will have no problem filing a libel lawsuit against those promoting or propagating this,” he said.
Ticona said that similar rumors surfaced in 2011, but “ended up being simple calumny.”
“Personally, I am happy that these accusations should come out at this time, in order to definitively close the case,” he added.
In turn, Adelante la Fe has offered their own brief rebuttal of his denial (we do not yet have an official translation of their report, so here is the Google version for the time being):
The Bolivian episcopal conference has divulged a more than predictable letter from Mon. Ticona trying to deny the information published on this website, in which it was reported that he had a relationship with children.
Given this, we need the following points:
- The information is completely true and, incidentally, is public domain at all levels in the diocese of Oruro for many years.
- The Nunciature in Bolivia has for several days a detailed denunciation under oath of two pages detailing all types of witnesses names, addresses where the couple lived and even the children’s school. It is not about gossip, but witnesses first hand, including neighbors. To give only some details of this report: the children of Ticona studied at the La Salle School in Oruro, for a time the “family” lived in the house n ° 6 of the El Progreso neighborhood, 6 de Octubre streets and Santa Cruz de Oruro , owned by the then Vicar General of the Diocese of Oruro, Father Tomás Valencia Tellería. Mrs. RR (for confidentiality does not name) -pharmaceutical-testified as the “wife” often bought at the pharmacy, billing on behalf of the Corocoro Prelature, and she said herself to be the “lady of the bishop of Patacamaya”. Do you want more information Mons. Ticona?
- From the moment that this information has been made public, all kinds of shadow movements are being produced to silence the witnesses and stop the news, so that their intimate friend Evo Morales does not run out of his cardinal “of the people”. We ignore the path they can follow to fabricate denials and counter-news, we will not go into it anymore. What is said here is the truth and the only truth, regardless of who may be.
As of yet, we have seen no statement from the Vatican indicating a definitive answer on this dispute, nor on the matter of the complaint to the apostolic nunciature made under oath as pictured above.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.