Archbishop warns of Costa Rican cult

San Antonio cleric is fugitive there

Archbishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio is warning Catholics about a Costa Rican religious cult in which a former San Antonio priest has taken refuge.

In an uncharacteristic move, Flores has issued a statement urging Catholics to stay away from the Reina y Señora de Todo la Creado, which translates as “The Queen and Lady of All Creation.”

The group, which has ties to Texas and several members from San Antonio, is centered around Juan Pablo Delgado, a 24-year-old “visionary” who claims to receive messages from the Virgin Mary. It has a reputation for violence in Costa Rica, and its members are reportedly preparing for the end of the world in late December.

Father Alfredo Prado, former pastor of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in San Antonio, has become the group’s chief celebrant. Prado became a fugitive from the Oblate Fathers earlier this year when he defied orders to enter a retirement home and instead fled to Costa Rica.

Prado, 73, was stripped of his clerical authority in 1991 after differing with officials of the Oblate Fathers over theology and after he was accused of molesting boys — a charge he has vehemently denied. Recently, the Oblate Fathers served final notice on Prado that he is being removed from the priesthood altogether.

The cult has been denounced by three Costa Rican bishops. Citing those denouncements, Flores said, “I caution everyone in San Antonio to not get involved. I recommend this for your good and the good of the universal church.”

Flores’ release did not specify Prado by name but mentioned the concern of the Costa Rican bishops over Prado’s presence and his celebration of Mass and other sacraments at the cult’s sanctuary in San Isidro de Grecia, near San Jose.

“In addition to their suspicions concerning the validity of the apparitions themselves, the bishops of Costa Rica have also voiced concern over apparent irregularities involving the Blessed Sacrament and the unauthorized celebration of the sacraments by those who do not have the authority of the local bishop to perform these priestly functions,” the release states.

The archbishop did not address the child molestation accusations. The Oblates will neither confirm nor deny that Prado was disciplined for molesting boys, but Prado has said he was accused of such behavior and has denied the accusations.

Instead, Flores admonished Catholics to avoid the cult until — and if — the apparitions Delgado claims are proven.

“If this apparition ever receives the approval of the bishops, somewhere down the line, then it will be made public,” Flores said.

“It has already been made public that it does not have the approval of the bishop or the archbishop in that area.”

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