Luis Fernando Castillo Méndez (December 4, 1922 - October 29, 2009) was a Venezuelan Roman Catholic priest and the 2nd Patriarch of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB - Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira), a catholic church. The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church lists 48 dioceses, and is the mother church of the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic National Churches (WCCAC) a communion of churches in 34 countries.
He had been a Roman Catholic priest from August 10, 1944 until March 8, 1947, when Castillo Méndez left the Roman Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Caracas to become the founder of the independent Venezuelan Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAV - Iglesia Católica Apostólica Venezolana).
Roman Catholic Don. Castillo Méndez was subsequently excommunicated by Archbishop Lucas Guillermo Castillo.
On May 3, 1948 he was consecrated a bishop and Patriarch for the Venezuelan Catholic Apostolic Church by Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa former Roman Catholic bishop of Botucatu, Brazil, allocated as Titular bishop of Maura, assisted by his Auxiliary Bishop Salomão Barbosa Ferraz, in the Panama Canal Zone.
Dom. Castillo Méndez later succeeded Dom. Duarte Costa as Patriarch and he became the President of the Episcopal Council of ICAB. He died on October 29, 2009. The successor is Most Reverend Dom. James Atkinson-Wake.
In the words of His Holiness Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez in 1962 and 2005 ; “Well, we are not of this new religion. We do not accept this new religion. We are of the religion of all time; we are of the Catholic religion. We are not of this 'universal religion' as they call it today-this is not the Catholic religion any more. We are not of this Liberal, Modernist religion which has its own worship, its own priests, its own faith, its own catechisms, its own Bible, the 'ecumenical Bible -these things we do not accept.
We are of our forefathers religion as taught us"
Please note: that the Spanish Roman Catholic Church denies the ordination of Don. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez for which from the newspaper clipping below and here dated 1947 and the fact of an educated Roman Catholic Bishop Duarte Costa would be negligent to undertake the various checks that would have had been required is absurb.
On March 8, 1947 Don. Castillo Méndez and the other three founders of the Venezuelan independent catholic church were formally excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by the Venezuelan Archbishop. The Roman Catholic Archbishop, Lucas Guillermo Castillo, stated in the excommunication directive that the four priests had "violated fundamental dogma of the Roman Catholic Church and held concepts blasphemous, as well as several which are offensive to the person and authority of the Roman Pope Pius XII."
Early life and ministry
Don. Luis Fernando Castillo Méndez was born in Caracas, Venezuela on December 4, 1922 and baptized on December 22 in the Parish of Saint John the Baptist. His parents were Castillo Lopéz and Carmen Méndez and had five siblings: Ramón, Domingo, Cecilia, José de Jesús and Antonio Obdulio.
After studying in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese seminary in Caracas, he left with a bachelor's degree and travelled with his class of seminarians to Solsona, Catalonia, in Spain, and on August 10, 1944, Bishop Valentín Comellas y Santamaría ordained him to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Santa Maria. See newspaper report here
Upon returning to Venezuela, at a time of massive upheaval in the country, Don. Castillo Méndez became involved in a movement called the Curas Criollos ("Native Priests" or literally "Creole Priests"). Having learned through periodicals about the church reform movement led by the Vatican critic Dom. Carlos Duarte Costa former Roman Catholic bishop of Botucatu in Brazil and the founding of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church separated from the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church in late 1945, Don. Castillo Méndez entered into correspondence with Dom. Duarte Costa.
Separation from the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1947 Don. Castillo Méndez and three other clergy formally established the "Venezuelan Catholic Apostolic Church". Like the Brazilian Catholic church led by its first Patriarch, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, the Venezuelan church was to be independent of the Vatican, It would use Spanish instead of Latin in the liturgy, and would permit its clergy to marry. Don. Castillo Méndez filed the new church's organizational papers with the Interior Ministry in early 1947, with signed affidavits from 250 fellow priests who had unanimously elected him Bishop of Caracas. The Minister of Interior immediately ordered the federal police to ensure that Don. Castillo Méndez did not wear the vestments or insignia of the office of a bishop under the instructions and orders of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Venezuela..
However, the new catholic church did receive public approval from the Democratic Action and Communist parties.
Dom. Castillo Méndez's consecration led to his official persecution by the Roman Catholic Cardinal in Venezuela and was tortured with hot irons by the Roman Catholic Church to deny that he was a Catholic bishop, he stood fast in his faith. He fled to Brazil on June 21, 1950, where he was installed by Patriarch Dom. Duarte Costa as parish vicar and diocesan bishop of Uberlandia in the state of Minas Gerais.
In 1957 he was moved to Rio de Janeiro where he served as Auxiliary bishop.
He was reassigned to Brasília DF in 1960 where he served as Diocesan bishop of the state of Goias. It is worth noting that the erection of the Brasília DF Diocese predated that of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese by five years, as a result of which the Roman Catholic hierarchy were forced to recognise, and never able to challenge, the title of Bishop of Brasília even to this day / date. In 1961 he, Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez acquired Brazilian citizenship.
Upon Bishop Duarte Costa's death in 1961, leadership of the Brazilian Catholic Church was apparently in a flux for a few years, with several individuals leading or claiming to lead the church, often for very brief periods of time.
His Holiness Patriarch Dom. Castillo Mendez used the Tridentine Pontifical in the vernacular for all episcopal consecrations.
However, like the Eastern Orthodox Church and many other Christian churches, he denied papal infallibility and did not support obligatory priestly celibacy.
In the 1980s, he entered into private dialogue with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II at the Pope's request to see if reunification was possible. Unfortunately, the Episcopal Council of ICAB refused the idea, remembering the various ongoing acts of malice and even torture committed by the Roman Church against the Brazilian Church and its founder Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa. Dom. Castillo Mendez was also given a Papal blessing by Pope John Paul II.
Despite the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church allows priests and the clergy to marry, Patriarch Dom. Castillo Méndez was celibate. He was noted to recite the rosary several times every day; Patriarch Dom. Castillo Méndez resided in the Patriarchal Palace in Brasilia, where he would remain until his death. Patriarch Dom. Castillo Méndez wore the Church's grey cassock with red piping but after his designation as "His Beatitude, Patriarch of ICAB", he began wearing a red cassock and zucchetto, usually reserved for Cardinals.
On the morning of October 29, 2009 in the Patriarchal Palace, His Beatitude Patriarch Dom. Castillo Mendez suffered a severe heart attack. He was rushed to a hospital and lost consciousness; he was declared dead at approximately 9:00 am, at the age of 86, in Brasilia, Brazil. He was the last living bishop consecrated by Dom. Carlos Duarte Costa and had been gravely ill for the last few years from 2008.
His Funeral Mass took place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Brasilia, where his body was laid in repose; attending were various bishops including bishops of the Episcopal Council and a large gathering of clergy and families. Many worldwide bishops, including Roman Catholic Prelate Faustino Sainz Muñoz sent his condolences to the Superior General of the Catholic Church of England & Wales (CCEW) -Tridentine Vatican I, Archbishop David Bell.
As a native of Venezuela, Castillo Méndez's family name (patronym) is "Castillo", with "Méndez" being his mother's family name. In Spanish-speaking countries, people normally have two surnames. One is inherited from the father, the other from the mother. The father's surname is written before the mother's surname and, when addressing a person formally, one usually uses the father's surname (e.g. "Señor Castillo").
However, as an immigrant to Brazil, where the custom is to place the father's surname in the final position, Castillo Méndez was normally addressed as "Méndez", even though this is technically his mother's surname.
Another Brazilian custom is to address bishops and high-ranking church officials with the honorific title of "Dom" followed by the individual's first name. Thus Castillo Méndez was often addressed as "Dom Luis".
Most Reverend Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez sat on his Cathedra in his Cathedral assisted by Archbishop James Atkinson-Wake and a fellow Archbishop during the celebration of a high Mass.
The photograph above is Most Reverend Dom. Carlos Duarte Costa, His Excellency Archbishop of Rio de Janerio sat with His Excellency, Most Reverend Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez
Photo of Roman Catholic Cardinal Sebastiao Leme da Silveria Cintra with Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa and friends in 1939.
His Holiness, Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez used the Pre Vatican II Pontifical Romanum for all episcopal consecrations. However, like most autonomous Established Christian Churches, he denied papal infallibility the same as the Orthodox Churches do and did not support obligatory priestly celibacy, although he remained single. Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez built a strong vibrant Catholic Church in the new city of Brasilia Distro Federal as a young Catholic bishop building a great congregation of faithful.
The Cathedral Church that can be seen in the black and white photograph taken in the late 1950's with many catholic bishops of the Brazilian Catholic Church all entering into the new Cathedral.
Upon the death of the founder of the Brazilian Catholic Church Archbishop Carlos Duarte Costa, Patriarch Dom. Luis would make his new Cathedral the official SEE of the Patriarchate of the Brazilian Catholic Church for which was for so, many years until his eternal reward on the 29 October 2009. His Holiness consecrated several catholic bishops to succeed him in his Cathedral including Archbishop Neville Anderson for Australia and Archbishop James Atkinson-Wake for the United Kingdom.
His Holiness was a great spiritual leader for many and he was a great friend to the founder of the Brazilian Catholic Church as well as being the 4th catholic bishop consecrated by Most Reverend Lord Carlos Duarte Costa. His Excellency Archbishop of Rio de Janerio. The colour photograph to the right is the Cathedral in 2006. He also directly established the Roman Catholic Society Saint Pius V in the UK in 2005 and in his biography it is clear stated on page 71. A new biography has been rewritten in English for the first time taking the words from his own biography written in Portuguese.
Ad Lima Visit 2009.
In December 2009, an envoy of the Catholic Church of England & Wales Bishops from the England, Wales & Scotland paid a visit to His Holiness as normal. The ad lima visit was to inform His Holiness of how the Church was progressing. The Superior General / President consecrated by His Holiness Patriarch Dom. Castillo Mendez was the Most Reverend Dom. James Atkinson-Wake. H.E. Archbishop Atkinson-Wake during morning mass was spoken to by a unknown voice during silent prayers telling him that His Holiness was seriously ill.
The Superior General/ President who was consecrated and elevated by His Holiness. Archbishop Atkinson-Wake contacted his chaplain and episcopal vicar and informed them that they had to leave now and the reason why bringing their visit forward by 3 months.
On the 22 October 2009, the above 3 bishops arrived in Brasilia DF and stayed with His Holiness at the Cathedral Palace leaving only for 2 days to go to see the new President of ICAB in Rio de Janerio, returning to then His Holiness Patriarchal Palace of Most Reverend Dom. Castillo Mendez residence on the morning of 26 October 2009 until the late afternoon of the 28 October 2009.
During their visit His Holiness recognized immediately his friend and bishop addressing him as "Cardeal James". His Holiness was the spirit of life although a little unsteady and slow on his feet, but he was very alert and lucid, a few days before his sudden death, His Holiness Archbishop Bell to succeed him, making it clear that he was to be the successor .
On the morning of the 29th October 2009, at approximately 9 am, His Holiness, Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo-Mendez, Archbishop of Brasilia DF died, at the age of 86.
Brazilian Catholic Church & Roman Catholic Church custom is to address catholic bishops and high-ranking church officials with the honorific title of "Dom" followed by the individual's first name.
Thus Luis Fernando Castillo Méndez was often addressed as "Dom Luis."
Photograph is the funeral service of the late Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez being presided over by the president of ICAB and the counsel of Catholic bishops of ICAB.
Below is a letter from the former Roman Catholic Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain passing his condolences on in regard's to the sudden death of the late Patriarch of Brazil.
Opposite is a letter from the former Roman Catholic Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain His Excellency, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz (5 June 1937 – 31 October 2012). He was a Spanish prelate of the Roman Catholic Church .
He served as the Vatican II Nuncio to Great Britain from 2004 until December 2010, having been appointed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 2004. passing his condolences on in regard's to the sudden death of the late Patriarch upon being informed.
It is very true that His Holiness, Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez was in talks with then His Holiness, Pope John Paul II to unite both churches and the Brazilian Catholic Church to be granted "Sui Juris" .
However due to important differences and blockage by the cooe of the new president of ICAB these could not be overcome the talks failed and unification ceased.