Brazilian archbishop resigns over failure to act on abuse

Archbishop Aldo Pagotto/Archdiocese of Paraiba

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Brazilian archbishop for allowing priests accused of sex abuse to work in his diocese, Reuters reports.

The Vatican said Francis had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto of Paraiba, under Canon 401 §2, which provides for resignation in cases where a bishop "has become less able to fulfil his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."

Last year, the Church stripped Archbishop Pagotto, 66, of his power to ordain priests while the accusations against him were being investigated.

He had been accused of allowing men into seminaries in his diocese to become priests even though they had been rejected from other places in Brazil because they were suspected child abusers.

In a letter posted on the diocese's website, Archbishop Pagotto said: "I gave shelter to priests and seminarians, in order to offer them new chances in life. Among those were some who were later suspected of committing serious derelictions. I made the mistake of being too trusting."

However Archbishop Pagotto, who headed the Archdiocese of Paraiba for the past 12 years, also blamed retaliation for other actions he had taken. He said he took tough and urgent measures regarding the reorganisation of the administration and recovery of the archdiocese's assets, displeasing many people, the Boston Pilot says.

He said that in addition to internal and external retaliation, there was an effort to destabilise the archdiocese by pressure groups, including those labelled "anonymous priests" who received wide media coverage.

With the pressure, the Archbishop said, his power of co-ordination was lost, and the Church became divided. He said he thought it was best "for the Church as a whole and in particular for the Church of Paraiba" to offer his resignation.

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Pope accepts resignation of Brazilian bishop in sex abuse case (Reuters)

Pope accepts resignation of archbishop of Paraiba (Boston Pilot)

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Archdiocese of Paraiba