According to a Brazilian media report, local clergy complained to the apostolic nuncio following a $600,000 renovation of the episcopal residence as well as renovations to the seminary, chancery, and a retreat house.It is a crime, punishable by a just penalty, to alienate (i.e., sell or spend) ecclesiastical goods without the proper permission (c. 1377). For some transactions, the bishop would have needed the consent of his finance council and college of consultors as well as the permission of the Apostolic See (see c. 1292). Did the archbishop commit this crime? There is no evidence of this and even if he did, is removal from office a just penalty? (I know he wasn't "removed from office" but that was the practical result.) Another canon states that a person who abuses an ecclesiastical power or office can be deprived of office (c. 1389). That doesn't seem to apply here, either.
Priests also opposed the imposition of a 10% diocesan assessment on parish income and complained about prelate’s “rubricism” and “ritualism” in the liturgy, as well as his willingness to accept seminarians who had left other dioceses and religious orders, according to the report.
I can understand why priests would oppose a 10% tax but the bishop can impose "moderate" and "proportionate" taxes (c. 1263).
As someone who once left a seminary and joined a religious order, I'm glad there are prelates out there who are willing to do what this Bishop did. Let's read between the lines: the real "problem" was not that he did this--in general--but that he accepted certain seminarians, ones the priests did not like. Were the priests right to think the seminarians were unworthy? Who knows. The bottom line is that the Bishop is free to decide who he accepts as seminarians (c 241).
Now, to the horror of horrors: rubricism and ritualism in the Liturgy. The priests did not like the Bishop's manner of celebrating the Rites of the Church. Maybe he even made statements directing his priests to observe certain "rubrics" and "rituals." Since conservative clerics would never complain about someone else's "rubricism" or "ritualism", I think we can safely say that the Bishop wanted the priests to say the black and do the red. The priests, however, wanted to innovate. Let's not pretend, though, that innovators in the liturgy are not rubricists or ritualists. They have their rubrics and rituals which happen to be their own, not necessarily the Church's.
To answer the title of this post--sometimes, liturgical rubricism and ritualism is bad, very bad. Like this. I repeat, very bad. Sometimes, it's good. Like this. Or, like this.
I have to admit to a certain uneasiness about this case. It is another example of a "resignation" that looks like removal. As Ed Peters, quoting Card. Burke, points out, "The too rapid growth of practice without a clear and solid theoretical foundation has its most serious consequences in the confusion regarding the very foundations of law." This case, more than any other episcopal "resignation", confuses me.