‘It Pains Me to Leave’: Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Argentinian Archbishop

The Holy See did not give a reason for Archbishop Mestre’s resignation.

Former La Plata Archbishop Gabriel Antonio Mestre
Former La Plata Archbishop Gabriel Antonio Mestre (photo: La Capital Mar del Plata)

The Holy See on Monday said Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of La Plata, Argentina Archbishop Gabriel Antonio Mestre, after the prelate had served in that role for less than a year. 

The Vatican said in a press statement on Monday that the Holy Father “has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the metropolitan archdiocese of La Plata, Argentina, presented by Archbishop Gabriel Antonio Mestre.” The archbishop had been appointed to that role in July of last year and installed in September.

The Holy See did not give a reason for Archbishop Mestre's resignation. In a statement posted to the archdiocese's Facebook on Monday, meanwhile, Archbishop Mestre said that he was “conscious of my weakness and the human weakness of the beautiful Church that is my home and my family” as he resigned. 

“A few days ago, the Holy See summoned me to Rome to talk about some aspects of the Diocese of Mar del Plata after my transfer to the Archdiocese of La Plata when I was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop by Pope Francis,” Mestre wrote. 

The prelate had previously served as the bishop of the Mar del Plata diocese from 2017 until his appointment to the archbishopric last year.

“In the Eternal City, after confronting some different perceptions with what happened in the Diocese of Mar del Plata from November 2023 to the present, Pope Francis asked me to resign from the See of La Plata,” Archbishop Mestre wrote. 

“With deep peace and total rectitude of conscience before God for how I acted, trusting that the Truth sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32), and with filial and theological obedience to the Holy Father, I immediately wrote my resignation, which was accepted and made public today,” he said.

In a message addressed to the archdiocese itself, Archbishop Mestre said he had been “very happy these eight and a half months” serving in the archbishopric. 

“It pains me to leave, it pains me to leave you as pastor of this Particular Church that is on pilgrimage in La Plata,” Archbishop Mestre wrote, “but I am sure that God has much better plans that I cannot finish deciphering today.”

Archbishop Mestre was born in 1968 in Mar del Plata in the province of Buenos Aires. He was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1997 and has a degree in theology with a specialization in sacred scripture from the Universidad Católica Argentina.

He was appointed bishop of Mar del Plata in 2017 after serving as a parish priest at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Cecilia, vicar general of the diocese, and a member of the presbyteral council. 

He was also a professor of sacred scripture at the Mar del Plata University School of Theology and founder of the diocesan biblical commission.

Pope Francis presides over the Feb. 11 canonization ceremony of the first female Argentinian saint, María Antonia de San José de Paz, known as “Mama Antula,” in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

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