Cuenca has its own exorcist; Guayas court lacks basic supplies to do its job; AG to audit judges’ assets; No decision yet on reducing fuel subsidies

Mar 14, 2024 | 0 comments

Over the objections of several priests, Archbishop Marcos Pérez has appointed Father Francisco Calle as the official Cuenca diocese exorcist. According to the Archbishop’s office, the position had been vacant for several years.

Pérez said that Calle would be available to diocese priests who request his services. “Father Calle will first make an assessment of each case, listening to the reason a priest believes an exorcism is necessary,” Pérez said in an interview on TC television. “Only when he determines there is no scientific or medical explanation of diabolic possession will an exorcism proceed.”

Although the government has not made a decision about how it will reduce gasoline subsides, one option is a gradual increase in price to markets standards.

Five priests whose names were not released, sent a letter to Pérez asking him to leave the exorcist position vacant. “The ritual of exorcism is outdated and problematic in the 21st Century and we recommend Cuenca adopt the position of other dioceses around the world and leave the position unfilled.”

The letter was posted on several social media sites.

In his interview, Pérez said the exorcism ritual remains sanctioned by the Vatican. “The evidence is strong that some people are possessed by the devil and require the services of a trained exorcist,” he said. “The possession can be of such overwhelming strength that the victim is unable to cleanse himself without the assistance of an agent of God.”

When asked about the evidence of a possession, Pérez said that one of the “strongest signs” involves the possessed speaking in unknown tongues. “Today’s society is psychologically very negative which opens opportunities for the devil to move into certain individuals. Incoherent babbling is a signal of possession.”

Guayaquil court lacks basic supplies and judges
Judges and office workers at the Guayas Provincial Court of Justice are complaining of a “disastrous” lack of personnel and supplies and say it affects their ability to do to their jobs. “With all the news about the corruption and the arrests, no one mentions that the honest members of this court don’t have paper, pens, file folders and printers to complete their work,” says administrative manager Katy Morales. “We also lack the judicial officers to handle the case load.”

Morales says that many of the contract workers at the court, including janitors and security personnel, have not been paid for week and, in some cases, months. “These are services essential for our operation and protection,” she says. “What happens if these people leave for other jobs?”

A judge who asked not to be identified posted a message on Morales’ social media account that “the administration of justice has almost stopped” in the Guayas district. “We were short of judges and Monday’s arrests mean we have even fewer. It is difficult to function as a legal entity.” He and other judges on the court sent a letter Wednesday to the judicial council asking for the immediate appointment new judges. “In this court’s five jurisdictions, we are operating at 60% of judicial capacity,” he said. “Justice is being delayed.”

No decision yet on fuel subsidy reduction
The Deputy Minister of Hydrocarbons Silvio Torres said Wednesday that the government has not decided how it will reduce or eliminate gasoline subsidies. “We continue to work with social and business organizations to find the best approach for phasing out the subsidies,” he said.

Iván Casanova, vice president of the National Chamber of Fuel Distributors, said he believes the most likely scenario is a gradual price increase of Extra and Ecopais gasoline. “The most popular option is for a 10-cent per gallon price increase every month until market price is achieved,” he said. “This would avoid a sudden shock to consumers and the private sector.”

Attorney General audits judges’ assets
Prosecutor Xavier Torres announced Monday that the Attorney General’s office is conducting an audit of the 63 judges working the Guayas court system. “In investigations of those arrested in the Purge Case, we found assets and money not explained by the signed declarations filed with the judiciary council,” he said. “By conducting comprehensive audits we will be able to identify potential cases of corruption.”

Torres said that two of the judges arrested Monday owned homes valued at more than $3 million. “How is it possible for a judge who earns $4,300 a month to afford such housing? These are types of discrepancies we will look for.”

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