Two priests in Venezuela, Eduardo Cardenas and Maximo Ochoa, have been suspended of faculties for celebrating a Mass without their bishop’s approval. It’s a bit confusing, especially since most of the sources are in Spanish, but apparently, according to this site, there is some traditional “Blessing of the Sea” in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. It’s been going on for 147 years.
It’s kind of both a local religious tradition and major town festival. The local bishop, because of disagreement with the reigning socialist government and the current mayor, forbade the mass from being said and refused to participate in the events (though he had his own Mass at the Cathedral).
The two priests, who have ties to many, er, “progressive” groups, *did* participate in the official event. So the bishop suspended their faculties. They claim that, since the Mass took place on a boat, they weren’t subject to their bishop’s authority.
Here’s the thing: the Venezuelan socialist government voted to reprimand the bishops and ordered the Church to lift the penalties, under the grounds that they were interfering with religious freedom!
I’ve suspected this one was on the way. It’s the argument liberal Catholics use when they talk about “conscience”: they say that the Church’s teaching on religious freedom doesn’t just save them from government interference, but from having to listen to the Church herself.
Here’s what the priests said to the government:
Fathers Ochoa and Cadenas visited the National Assembly on May 14 and testified against their Bishops: “We have done no crime in order to apologize. We would rather walk along with the simple folk, of our people, according to Liberation Theology, than with the dominating class. The reprisal happened [for choosing] to lead a Christian life and for the preferential option for the poor.”
So, Liberation Theology means allegiance with socialists and opposition to legitimate ecclesiastical authority, calling one’s bishop “the dominating class,” etc.