Mexican bishops rebuked

Published January 1, 2003

New York

A committee that monitors the relationship between the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) and the Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico (IAM) has issued a statement on financial difficulties stemming from the misappropriation of funds by two Mexican bishops.

The committee of lay and clergy representatives appointed by presiding bishops of the two churches addressed reports of financial mismanagement in the dioceses of Western and Northern Mexico and “the need for greater mutuality in mission and ministry.”

The committee’s review “produced a clear understanding that the leaders of the IAM have recognized the illicit actions of two of IAM’s five diocesan bishops – Samuel Espinosa of Western and German Martinez of Northern Mexico.”

Audits reveal that approximately $1.4 million US is involved over a period of five years, the bulk of the funds apparently coming from “custodial accounts and other designated funds held by ECUSA at IAM’s request.”

The committee said that “there may also have been unauthorized transfers from subsidy payments provided by ECUSA to assist in IAM’s movement into autonomy.”

Contrary to rumours that the two bishops involved had been pardoned by the present interim presiding bishop, the committee’s statement said that representatives of the Mexican church “disclosed fully the actions being taken to prosecute the bishops of Western and Northern Mexico, through Mexico’s criminal court system for their misbehavior.”

IAM has also taken action to inhibit the two prelates from functioning as bishops.

The standing committees of the dioceses are now functioning as the ecclesiastical authority.

The committee said it was satisfied that leadership of the Mexican church “is proceeding responsibly and with due diligence to cure the sad conditions caused by the misappropriations” of the two bishops.


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