Pope accepts resignation of Chilean bishop accused of abusing a minor
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of a Chilean bishop who is under a Vatican investigation for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor.
The Vatican announced the resignation of Chilean Bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez of Iquique Oct. 9, citing Canon 401.2 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that "a diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."
Bishop Ordenes has been under investigation by the Vatican since April for suspected abuse, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, confirmed Oct. 10.
While the bishop, who will be 48 on Oct. 29, has no governing authority over the diocese, he is still allowed to exercise his priestly duties, according to a spokesman for the Chilean bishops' conference.
The spokesman, Jaime Coiro, said the church will be cooperating fully with the country's judicial authorities in regard to the accusation.
Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, vice president of the Chilean bishops' conference, expressed the bishops' shock, saying the pain was made more acute because it involved a bishop, who is "called to be a good shepherd and servant of the Gospel of Jesus."
The bishops' conference confirmed Oct. 2 that Bishop Ordenes had been accused of sex abuse and that he had been on medical leave in Peru for a liver ailment.
Coiro said the Vatican nunciature was providing "counseling and support for those affected."
During a news conference on the eve of his resignation, Bishop Ordenes said he felt "calm and at peace with God's judgment because he knows my heart and truth."
He said though many times he may have made mistakes, he never tried to hurt, offend or manipulate anyone, reported the Chilean daily, La Tercera.
The newspaper reported that the accuser told reporters that he felt "guilty and dirty" after his first sexual encounter with the bishop, but then he fell in love with him when he was 16. He said the bishop told him, "I am your father, I see you as a son, a brother, a lover and a friend."
The man said he will release audio tapes of the bishop so that the people of Chile would know more about who the bishop is. He did not give specifics about the tapes.
The alleged victim said the bishop is a popular and intelligent man, but asked rhetorically, "And what about the negative part, which is the most important, the abuse of children?"