Mexican primate asked to resign

Published September 1, 2002

Mexico City
Archbishop Samuel Espinoza, primate of Mexico and Bishop of Western Mexico, as well as Bishop German Martinez Marquez of the diocese of Northern Mexico, have been asked to resign after an audit of diocesan finances revealed that since at least 1995, as much as two-thirds of all money designated for those two dioceses has been diverted for the bishops’ personal use or for that of family members and associates. “They ran their own corporations,” said Rev. Federico Sierra, treasurer for the Anglican Church of Mexico. According to Rev R. J. Smith, a priest in the diocese of Northern Mexico, after the 1910 Mexican Revolution, it became illegal for the church to own property in its own name. For approximately the next 80 years title to property was often held by the bishop.The law was changed recently, but many diocesan properties in Western and Northern Mexico remain in the name of the two men suspected of abusing their offices. One problem for the Church of Mexico is proving that the funds in question were actually misappropriated. Sources say most of the misappropriated money came from the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), meaning that the party actually injured is based in another country. Canon Patrick Mauney, ECUSA director of Anglican and Global Relations Office acknowledged that in the recent past a variety of factors contributed to a decline in the quality of supervision given to overseas mission grants. “One of the things that is sad about all this is that it may create suspicion about all missionary support. There is a lot of good work going on out there,” Mr. Mauney said. This year the five dioceses in the Province of Mexico are due to receive a combined total of $717,000 from ECUSA. This represents approximately 70 per cent of total operating revenue for the Anglican Church of Mexico. ECUSA has placed a temporary freeze on all release of funds to the Province of Mexico, pending completion of a thorough audit.


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