Pope Francis Revokes Priesthood of Timor-Leste Priest Running for President

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Timor Leste

The Priest’s dismissal took place in response to a request from Gusmao to Pope Francis sent last year.

Newsroom (22/11/2021, 11:21 AM, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis has revoked the priesthood status of Martinho Germano da Silva Gusmao, a diocesan priest in Timor-Leste who aims to run for president in the Catholic-majority nation in March next year. The revocation was made public in a communique addressed to Catholics on Nov. 21 in Baucau Diocese, to which Gusmao belongs.

“Through this communique, from today onwards, Mr. Martinho Germano da Silva Gusmao will live his life as an ordinary layman and continue to bear witness to the faith as a good layman,” the communique said, and clarified that the priest’s dismissal came in response to a request from Gusmao to Pope Francis sent last year.

Vicar General Father Alipio Pinto Gusmao and Vice Chancellor Father Deonisio Guterres Soares, who signed the communique, clarified that Gusmao will “live his life as an ordinary layman in society, but the sacrament of priesthood he has received has not cancelled. Thus, people who are in a situation of deathly danger and when there is no priest to be given the sacrament of confession immediately, Martinho Gusmao can administer the sacrament of confession and give official absolution of sins,” they noted.

The announcement follows a letter sent by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, on Oct. 15 to Gusmao.

Mr.  Gusmao submitted a resignation letter in January 2020 to Bishop Basilio Nascimento of Baucau — who died last month — and a letter to the pope in February 2020. Bishop Nascimento suspended Gusmao from priestly duties in August.

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