February 26, 2021

The bishop of Cartagena pretended to be chaplain of the residence in order to get the vaccine

The bishop, in the foreground, in the Corpus Christi procession in June at the Cathedral.

The bishop, in the foreground, in the Corpus Christi procession in June at the Cathedral.
Israel Sanchez

José Manuel Lorca Plans, bishop of Cartagena, the first dose of the vaccine against coronavirus without being touched, as confirmed by the Diocese itself in a statement sent to the media on Monday night, and it did so in the residence of Murcia , whose board he presides. However, in the list that this center sent to the Ministry of Health, to register the vaccination certificates, Lorca Planes name appears not as bishop, but as chaplain, sources close to the case assure this newspaper.

Furthermore, Monsignor did not get vaccinated alone: ​​together with him, his personal secretary, Maximiliano Caballero; the auxiliary bishop, Sebastián Chico; the former archbishop of Burgos, Francisco Gil Hellín, and the canon of the Cathedral Tomás Cascales.

The Diocese explained that “days prior to his vaccination, the bishop filled in the necessary consent for the Ministry of Health to authorize his vaccination “. The document he signed is the form that health workers have to fill out in order to be vaccinated: it was signed by the prelate on January 2, and at that time he was not discharged as a chaplain in the residence.

It was days later when the name of Lorca Planes appears in the registry as a worker at the center, although sources of all solvency assure that the date was manipulated to show that the bishop is a chaplain of Home of Betania since July 2019.

And as chaplain he received the vial, as did the other religious: they were also listed as workers at the center. The vaccination of the five occurred on January 19, the day that the scandal of the vaccination of former councilor Villegas broke out.

The chaplains of hospitals and residences, although they are not sanitarians, are in the front line to give spiritual comfort to the sick. Hence, they have been legally vaccinated. For the bishop to appear on the list as one of them “we are not amused,” explain chaplains of the Region, who prefer to think of the “good faith” of the prelate, although “the scandal hurts us.”

On the other hand, the Ministry of Health announced yesterday that he will open an investigation to try to clarify how the prelate got the vaccine, since would not be included in the priority groups in this phase of the campaign.

This was stated by the spokesman for the COVID Monitoring Committee in the Region, Jaime Pérez, who explained that the department is not responsible for the decision that the residence in which the religious received the first vial would have taken. Not the second, since, according to the Diocese’s statement, Lorca Planes has given up on wearing it.

Pérez specified, at a press conference, that Health collects the lists provided by the residences with the names of the workers and users of the residences that must be vaccinated: “It is the residence or the center that, through a computer program, includes the users to be vaccinated “. In this sense, the spokesperson for the Committee stated that Health will carry out the pertinent investigations to find out “what has happened.”

About the bishop’s decision not to take the second dose now of the vaccine after announcing that he had been vaccinated and alleging that “he did not think it was wrong”, Pérez pointed out that, although the Ministry does recommend administering the second dose, because, if not, the first is worthless, it depends on the ” voluntariness “of each person:” He is free to put it on or not, “he said.

On the other hand, the PSOE of the Region of Murcia delivered this Tuesday to the Superior Prosecutor’s Office a letter, written by a person who identified himself as a worker at the Betania Home who says he witnessed the vaccination and “It seems totally immoral to me and it may be a crime.”

From the Bishopric they insisted yesterday that Lorca Planes was vaccinated as president of the board of the residence, where, they maintain, he goes regularly, both on public and private visits.


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