Friday, November 23, 2007

La Niña Santa

Source: El Diario de Chihuahua and El Sol de Parral, various editions.

"La Niña Santa" -- "the Holy Girl" -- that is what the people of Jimenéz call her, according to her grandmother. She is just over one year old and her father is Oscar Rodolfo "Fito" Jordán (right), a priest in the diocese of Parral, Mexico.

Jordán met the mother while he was still in seminary at a business where she worked. They had common interests in music, reading and movies and soon fell in love with each other. They became more romantically involved. All the while, Jordán, already a deacon, vacillated between staying with his lover and being only a married deacon and continuing on the path to ordination.

Five days before he was to be ordained, his lover informed him that she was pregnant with their daughter. She told him that if he went through with the ordination, their relationship would be over. He was distraught but got ordained as his lover watched, unable to believe that he would actually do it. There is ongoing debate about whether or not the church authorities knew of the pregnancy when they ordained Jordán.

The woman's mother was very upset by the ordination. She went to the bishop who told her that what had happened was a sin but not a crime and that there were no penalties under canon law. At the time he declined to do anything about Fr. Jordán and said that if she was looking for child support, she could file a civil claim. The family has plenty of money and no interest in child support and, as the mother puts it so well, even if they won, who would pay the child support? The parishioners?

The family merely wanted Fr. Jordán removed from the priesthood since they felt he had become a priest under false pretenses. Furthermore, they were incensed by the fact that the church transferred him to a distant parish to protect him and that he seemed to be getting special privileges such as the right to carry the monstrance during a Mass with the papal nuncio.

Finding no relief from local church authorities, La Niña Santa's grandmother went to the Vatican with her case. On the way back, she ended up on the same flight as the bishop and confronted him so vehemently that the flight attendant had to intervene and the airline asked for a security escort for him when the plane reached its destination.

Now it seems like the family may gets its wish. The most recent news reports on this case indicate that Fr. Jordán, now a parochial vicar in a parish in Guadalupe y Calvo, will likely be suspended shortly.

And what about marriage? The family is not interested although Jordán has intermittently kept in touch with his lover and recognized the child as his. He offered to provide economic assistance as long as he could remain a priest.

Meanwhile both the grandmother and the bishop agree on one thing: there are many, many cases like Fr. Jordán's out there.

Stay tuned...

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