The fake bishop, the bartender and the nuns: 'Sister Act' in Spanish style

The bizarre story of the nuns from the Spanish monasteries of Belorado (Burgos) and Orduña (Bizkaia) is taking on another dimension as more details about the history and, especially, about its protagonists are revealed.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 23:05
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The fake bishop, the bartender and the nuns: 'Sister Act' in Spanish style

The bizarre story of the nuns from the Spanish monasteries of Belorado (Burgos) and Orduña (Bizkaia) is taking on another dimension as more details about the history and, especially, about its protagonists are revealed. The Poor Clare nuns wanted to send a message of reassurance, indicating that they are not leaving the Church. However, at the same time, they appeared alongside one of the officials of the Pía Unión de San Pablo Apóstol and left an intriguing message: “We will show you what we have discovered.”

The truth is that the intention to leave the Church of Rome to embrace the doctrine of the Pious Union of Saint Paul the Apostle had been expressed by the nuns themselves in the extensive manifesto they released a few days ago, so that clarification referring to not abandoning the Church may have to do with the fact that for the Pious Union, the entity they call the “conciliar” Church does not represent this institution, which, as they denounce, has not had a legitimate pope since Pius XII.

Not surprisingly, in the last few hours, the alignment of these nuns with the Pious Union of Saint Paul the Apostle has been confirmed. The Pious Union “obeys” Pablo de Rojas Sánchez-Franco, an eccentric 42-year-old religious figure who was excommunicated five years ago by Mario Iceta, the current Archbishop of Burgos. Yesterday, accompanying the Poor Clares as their spokesperson, was José Ceacero, the right-hand man of the false bishop De Rojas, known in the nightlife of Bilbao for having been a renowned bartender and mixologist before donning the priestly collar.

In the last few hours, it has also been confirmed that behind this issue there is primarily a communion of interests where, on one hand, a group of nuns angry with the archbishopric for blocking a real estate operation to buy the monastery of Orduña, selling another property beforehand, and, on the other hand, a small group of people around Pablo de Rojas, a “three times great of Spain” who lives lavishly in Bilbao, determined to proselytize their cause.

One issue cannot be understood without the other, although the father of one of the nuns, Julio Mateo, pointed out that “the theological differences” carry a lot of weight in the tangle. At this point, it is necessary to take into account another protagonist of this story: the abbess Sister Isabel, who would exert a great influence over the rest. From the Pious Union, they emphasize her distance from the Church of Rome in theological terms, although the Church's version differs. “Sister Isabel wants to perpetuate herself in power because her term is coming to 12 years and cannot continue,” they point out from the diocese of Vitoria.

From the Church, they also accuse her of “having deceived” the rest of the nuns to organize this schism and blame her for using her rebellion to promote what they consider “a sect.” So far, only one of the nuns has abandoned the rebellion. The question is how far the rest will go in their standoff with the Church and whether the institution could end up excommunicating them if they continue on the path set by the false bishop and his followers.