February 15, 2024

Pope replaces Panama cardinal who went missing for two days

Pope replaces Panama cardinal who went missing for two days

Pope Francis on Thursday replaced a 79-year-old cardinal who recently went missing in Panama and was later found in an apparently disoriented state, the Holy See’s diplomatic mission announced.

Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza’s resignation as bishop of the Diocese of David was accepted on the grounds of age, the Apostolic Nunciature said in a statement.

Reverend Father Luis Enrique Saldana Guerra was appointed to replace him, it added.

Spanish-born Lacunza had previously offered to resign due to age when he turned 75, as all Catholic bishops do under Church norms, but Francis kept him in office.

He disappeared on January 30 in unexplained circumstances and was found two days later by police in his car in a rural area, in what was described as a “somewhat disoriented” state.

Officiating his first mass after the incident, Lacunza apologized and asked for “forgiveness” from his parishioners.

“It was a stupid thing that I didn’t do when I was 15 years old and I’ve done it now that I’m going to turn 80,” he said, without revealing the full circumstances.

Lacunza became a bishop in 1986 and was proclaimed cardinal — the only one in Panama — in 2015 by Pope Francis.