Bishop José Ignacio Munilla leaves San Sebastián to assume the diocese of Orihuela

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Pope Francis has appointed the prelate for the position, of which he will formally take possession in an act that will take place on February 12.

The until now responsible for the diocese of San Sebastián, Jose Ignacio Munilla, It is from this Tuesday the new bishop of Orihuela (Alicante), after having been appointed by Pope Francis for this position, of which he will formally take possession in an act that will take place on February 12.

The prelate has clarified that, until his final departure, he will continue to exercise the administrative functions of the diocese of San Sebastián, in whose Cathedral of the Good Shepherd he will officiate a farewell thanksgiving eucharist next February 6.

Munilla, who replaced Juan María Uriarte as bishop of Donostia in 2009, announced his departure this Tuesday at a press conference held at the San Sebastián Seminary. He has been accompanied by half a dozen priests and vicars of the San Sebastian diocese with whom he has sung the Angelus, on the eve of the “solemnity” of the Immaculate Conception, before attending to the journalists.

He did not want to comment on the best moments lived during his career in Gipuzkoa since, as he explained, it would be “imprudent” for his part to refer to one in particular because “the most beautiful things” that have happened to him in this time have taken place off the cameras and off the public news.

The prelate has affirmed that welcomes with “peace, gratitude and trust” the new entrustment that the Pope has made him, to whom he thanked the trust placed in him “undeservedly”.

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Likewise, it has urged the Catholics of the territory to provide a full welcome whoever is soon to be designated as bishop of San Sebastián, even before “knowing his name.” “We Catholics give a vote of confidence to the Holy Father, who, with all certainty, will seek the best possible relief for the shepherding of our diocese,” Munilla stressed.

Twelve years surrounded by controversy

During his appearance, Munilla has avoided any reference to the different controversies that he has had in his twelve years in Gipuzkoa and during which it has been questioned both internally by a sector of the faithful contrary to its management, as from areas close to the feminism and to movements in defense of LGBT rights, among other groups.

Over the past twelve years, he has been accused, among other things, of having created a economic hole of more than one million euros in the accounts of the Church of Gipuzkoa, as well as holding a church model based on hierarchy.

Asked, specifically, about the words that he would like to address to those who have accused him of being a “controversial” bishop and of “teasing the atmosphere of the church” in Gipuzkoa, Munilla did not want to make differences and has included them in the same farewell message to the rest of “faithful Gipuzkoan Catholics”, whom he has encouraged to “live” with a “spirit of ecclesial trust”.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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