Has Bishop García-Siller Committed Calumny Against a Retreat Center?

From the San Antonio Report:

The leader of the Catholic Church in San Antonio has issued a rare decree urging church members not to participate in activities at a privately owned Hill Country retreat center known as Sanctus Ranch.

Sanctus is Latin for holy, but the retreat center does not have the archbishop’s blessing. The owners of Sanctus Ranch in the Bandera County community of Pipe Creek are misrepresenting the activities there as Catholic, said Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller in late January.

Among his concerns are the presence of two priests who are not in good standing and a chapel that lacks canonical status — a term that means it is not officially recognized by the church.

Sanctus Ranch has responded with the following statement:

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller’s “prohibition” of January 30, 2024, barring Catholic entities from contracting with Sanctus Ranch, a private entity and retreat center located in Pipe Creek, Texas, and urging Christian faithful from attending “any of its activities”, if intentional, constitutes an egregious exercise in abuse of ecclesiastical power on the part of a sitting Archbishop of the Catholic Church.

Sanctus Ranch and its owner are considering all of their canonical and civil legal options regarding the attempt of the Archbishop to destroy a private Texas business ordered to the building up of the Kingdom of God, and vilify two priests as well as a hardworking layman.

Sanctus Ranch is a private retreat center in the state of Texas and has never claimed to represent the Catholic Church, act on its behalf, or operate as a part of the ecclesiastical structure of the Catholic Church, contrary to what is insinuated by the Archbishop’s statement.

The owner and Executive Director, Dan Sevigny, is a faithful lay Catholic in good standing with the Church. Over the years, he has spent millions of dollars of his own money to create a private oasis within an otherwise desiccated ecclesiastical landscape. And he has had every right to do so under civil and canon law.

Despite the Archbishop’s statement asserting, “There has been no approval granted to conduct sacramental ministry of any kind in this chapel and the altar has not been dedicated for the Sacred Liturgy”, in 2019, the Archbishop himself twice celebrated Mass on a non-dedicated altar of the Ranch. His auxiliary bishop, Gary Janak also offered Mass on the same altar for a men’s retreat in October 2021. For the Archbishop to condemn publicly his own ministerial conduct, as well as that of Bishop Janak, is the essence of hypocrisy.

Garcia-Siller is a well-known liberal bishop who’s past includes harsh criticism of President Trump, support for unrestricted immigration and a gun control advocate.

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