Spanish Nuns Challenge Vatican Over Property Dispute

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 contentious 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.

Their post included a 70-page manifesto outlining their grievances.

In the posted letter, signed by the convent’s Mother Superior, Sister Isabel de la Trinidad, the nuns claimed they were 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 could not proceed 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 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 attempted to engage in dialogue to resolve the situation but faced resistance when church representatives were denied entry into the convent.

He told AFP that it is harrowing 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.

Despite attempts by the Church to reconcile, including extending deadlines for appearing before an ecclesiastical tribunal, relations have deteriorated.

The case highlights the growing tensions within the Catholic Church over doctrinal and property issues, raising questions about the balance of power and authority.

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