BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis has named Bp. Jorge Ignacio García-Cuerva to select future bishops of the Church, despite the prelate having baptized two children belonging to a "married" homosexual male couple in 2012.
When he names new bishops for the Church as part of the Congregation for Bishops, Bp. García-Cuerva of Argentina said he will seek "shepherds with the profile the pope wants," explaining Francis wants "street bishops, not princes of the Church."
"I want to contribute to the bishop model Francis asks of us: a poor bishop for the poor," García-Cuerva added, according to a July 20 press release by Argentina's bishops. He affirmed Francis wants "bishops close to the people, close to Jesus in prayer and close to priests who are our first neighbor."
Bishop García-Cuerva told a press conference he will serve with "great humility and commitment." Francis elevated him in 2019 to the bishopric of Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz province, in the remote Patagonian region of the country. He said of Francis in 2019: "Francis is a man of deeds, not of words. He sees further ahead and has a prodigious memory and intelligence."
According to the conference of Argentine bishops, García-Cuerva explained his new role deals "with the constitution of particular churches, with considering the appointment of bishops, with calling ad limina visits, promoting meetings of the new bishops generally held in September and a spiritual retreat for bishops five years after their appointment — an initiative promoted by the pope since 2015."
In September 2012, while serving as a priest near Buenos Aires, García-Cuerva baptized a boy, Paul, and a girl, Isabella, who were engendered by a surrogate mother, reportedly in California. Their "parents" are Roberto Carlos Trinidad, 45, who began transitioning from his natural male sex to a "female" persona at age 17, and Pablo Goycochea. Having first taken the name "Karen," he legally took the name "Florencia Trinidad" but is known professionally as "Florencia de la V" following surgical intervention.
Trinidad is a well-known entertainer and media personality in Argentina who was legally recognized as a "woman" in 2010. He is "married" to Goycochea. Argentina legalized the practice of gay "marriage" in 2010, becoming the first country in Latin America to do so.
Following the baptism of the homosexual couple's two children at the Basilica of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Buenos Aires, which often witnesses baptisms and weddings of Argentine high society, then-priest García-Cuerva told local media:
Florencia came to us with the explicit request for her children be baptized by the Catholic Church according to canon law. The fact this wish exists is enough to make it happen. I wish all parents would bring their children to baptism with such a level of conscientiousness. It is notable that Flor and Pablo want to truly pass on to Paul and Isabella a faith in Jesus.
According to witnesses, Trinidad and Goycochea both received the Eucharist from García-Cuerva.
There are various requirements to be fulfilled for baptism. For example, canon 868/2 requires "a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason."
Trinidad explained: "My children came to dignify me and complete my mission in the world. Every day, I work on making them thinking people without prejudices. But above all, they should grow along the path of the Christian faith, just like I did."
As for any pushback from devout Catholics, Trinidad was dismissive:
My strong belief is just as clear as the information I made public from the start. The sacrament of baptism cannot be denied to anyone, even if the parents profess another religion. From the moment I called to ask about a date and requirements, the Church showed itself well disposed, making me feel comfortable and welcome.
"I always dreamed to see them looking like little angels," Trinidad said of the children. From the beginning of the process, Trinidad claimed, he was "looking for a priest who had good vibes, who could make the ceremony a pleasing celebration."
At the closed-door baptism, García-Cuerva baptized the children in "an environment of touching simplicity," Trinidad recalled. "He connected with the nearly 35 people present in a beautiful place of peace, excitement and joy. Without a doubt, he was the right person for this new chapter on the road of blessings that we are traveling as a family ever since the birth of my children."
García-Cuerva, 53, was born in Río Gallegos. A civil lawyer, he also has degrees in theology and canon law. In the past, García-Cuerva worked among the poor of La Cava, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires long known for harboring the poorest of the poor, but also drug addicts and criminals of all sorts.
Notable Argentine journalist Virginia Bonard has dubbed García-Cuerva a "slum priest," praising his work among the poor there. Bonard is the author of the book Our Faith is Revolutionary, which collects the pope's thoughts on evangelization.
The Congregation for Bishops originated as the Congregation for the Erection of Churches and Consistorial Provisions and was founded by Pope Sixtus V in 1588. Currently, it is led by Cdl. Marc Ouellet of Canada.