The diocesan communiqué explained that “Mr. Martinho Germano da Silva Gusmão will live as an ordinary layman” in society. “The sacrament of priesthood which he received has not been revoked,” therefore, in the priest’s absence, he will be able to hear confession and grant absolution to a man in danger of death.
Gusmão made a request for transfer to the lay state in January 2020 to the then ordinary of the diocese of Baucau, Bishop. Basilio do Nascimento, and in February 2020 to the hands of Pope Francis. In August, Bishop Nascimento sponsored him, that is, suspended him in his priestly ministry. On the other hand, the decision to transfer to the secular state was announced in a letter of October 15 by Card. Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to which the Churches in the mission territories report.
Gusmão, 53, who studied political science at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, was recently a member of the East Timor National Electoral Commission. He is a lecturer at the Higher Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Dili, Warsaw. The current decision of the Holy See will make it easier for him to run in the presidential elections scheduled for March 2022, in which he will run as an independent candidate.
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