Fr. Benedo Archila Archila has been exercising priestly ministry without invitation or permission in western Oregon and has not been granted faculties to minister in the archdiocese.
Fr. Benedo Archila Archila has been exercising priestly ministry without invitation or permission in western Oregon and has not been granted faculties to minister in the archdiocese.
When Catholic bishops, priests and religious travel to give retreats or minister outside their home dioceses, they must send ahead a letter of recommendation showing good standing and then wait for a welcome from the host diocese.

The longstanding practice is part of ensuring sound doctrine and controlling the movement of potential charlatans or sex abusers.

One popular priest who has visited Oregon on and off has lately failed to comply with the regulations.

The Office of the Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Portland says that Father Benedo Archila Archila has been exercising priestly ministry without invitation or permission in western Oregon and has not been granted faculties to minister in the archdiocese.

Father Archila, who says he is a Colombian native incardinated in a Nicaraguan diocese, also has traveled to Iowa and California where he presides at Spanish-language healing Masses, leads retreats, blesses houses, sells religious goods and takes donations.

He has been in and out of the Portland area for at least four years and has told Latino Catholics that he has permission. But Father Todd Molinari, vicar for clergy in the archdiocese, has told Father Archila that he must leave the region and return to his home diocese. Officials in the Nicaraguan diocese he claims is his home have told Portland church leaders he is not welcome there, either.

“We are concerned about the Hispanic people,” said Mayra Ramirez, a staffer in the archdiocese’s Office of the Vicar for Clergy.

Father Archila has led events among Oregon’s Latino Catholics and was admired at parishes like Ascension in Southeast Portland, St. John the Baptist in Milwaukie and St. James in McMinnville. While the priest had obtained permission to minister in Oregon in the past, he has not done so in the past nine months.

“This is going to be a shock. He is very well liked,” said Rudy Lopez, a musician who has led song at services with Father Archila in the Portland area.

Those with concerns about Father Archila are asked to contact the Office of the Vicar for Clergy, 503-233-8366.