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Death and the Virgin

30 December 2010

When Jesús Guízar Villanueva, did not respond to his doorbell or his telephone  last 20 January, his brother and sister,  concerned about the welfare of their sibling,  found a locksmith to let them into Guízar’s home.  The 63-year-old, who lived alone, was discovered in his bed, badly beaten and unconscious.   There was no apparent sign of a break-in.  After being admitted to the nearest hospital, Guizár  was transferred at the insistence of his employer and the employer’s insurance representative— and over the strenuous objections of the attending physicians and is family — to a private clinic where he subsequently died.  Although the employer attempted to claim the body and order a cremation, but the family intervened, and after some strenuous arguments with the private hospital staff, were able to claim Guízar’s remains, for burial in the family plot.

It’s an odd story to be sure, but nothing that would catch your attention (unless you were interested in the way Mexican employers sometimes attempt to take charge of their employee’s personal lives, or suspect insurance companies of being too anxious to close troublesome cases that might lead to expensive settlements or claims).  But I left out a few, possibly significant details about the late Jesús Guízar Villanueva.

The unexplained beating might make for a small crime item in the local paper, and perhaps you might get a decent article for a business publication out of the micro-management run amok , but I get the feeling there’s more than enough here for any number of good thrillers… and maybe even a Dan Brown novel or two.

Let’s rewrite that first paragraph a bit.

When the Very Reverend Jesús Guízar Villanueva, Canon of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe (and a nephew of Saint Rafael Guízar y Valencia), who had recently sent confidential information to Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Norberto Ribera and Papal Nuncio Christophe Pierre regarding “unorthodox” behavior by Basilica authorities, specifically by Rector Diego Monroy Ponce, did not respond to his doorbell or telephone last 20 January…

Monsignor Guízar, according to his brother Gonzalo (a physician, by the way), was admitted to Hospital Angeles Lindavista, where physicians recommended re-hydration for the next three days while the patient was  stabilized and the full extent of his injuries could ascertained.   However, Father Rafael Bustillo, who handles insurance matters for the Basilica, order Monsignor Guízar transferred to Hospital Santa Elena, where he died — supposedly of a heart attack while in an induced coma — on 23 January.  Within five minutes of Guízar’s death, Rector Monroy, viewed the body, and was insisting on cremating the Canon’s remains, for inhumation in the niche reserved for Basilica canons.  Despite pressure from the Basilica administration, the family buried the body in their own plot at Panteon Jardin.

Unfortunately for Dan Brown fans, Rev. Guízar’s confidential reports had nothing to do with lost symbols, or clues to the DaVinci Code.  And for those who hope for even juicier scandals involving at the least drug abuse and sex, like those caused by Rev. Guízar’s  cousin, the late (unlamented) Marcial Maciel, the irregularities at the Basilica were run-of-the-mill sins stemming from the root of all evil… greed.

Diego Monjoy at work

Although the land for the “Plaza Mariana” (the combination visitor’s center, museum, cemetery, shopping mall and parking garage added to the Basilica complex under Rev. Monroy’s rectorship), was transferred to the Basilica at no cost by the Federal District, and Carlos Slim paid the construction costs, Reverend Monroy was busily raising funds for the project during his tenure as Rector.  That he “retired” after accumulating a sizable nest egg, including  several houses in Mexico City, a family home in Queretaro and a private museum (and art collection) in Patzcuaro, and an unknown amount of personal assets in several bank accounts.

Father Enrique Glennie Graue was appointed Rector this past week.  Cardinal Rivera, in accepting Monsignor Monjoy’s resignation praised his “love of the Virgin of Guadalupe … exhibited by his various and continuous activities…”

Perhaps we should be Joyful that there is a new rector, which could could prove Luminous in resolving the Sorrowful circumstances of the Very Reverend Guízar’s demise… which remains a Glorious Mystery to be sure*.

*To those who understand the last sentence… why yes, I did go to Catholic school through 12th grade… but even with the help of Wikipedia I can’t avoid the near occasion of really bad puns.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. otto permalink
    30 December 2010 12:55 pm

    I doff my cap at your blogability, RG. Outstanding stuff.

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