The Archbishop of Paraiba, Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, 66, resigned under the article of canon law that allows bishops to retire early for â€œgraveâ€ reasons that make them unfit for office. Francis appointed an administrator to run the archdiocese until a permanent replacement is found.
In a farewell letter, Pagotto admitted he had made mistakes and that he had accepted into the archdioceses priests and seminarians who had committed â€œserious errors.â€
He blamed his own â€œmerciful ingenuousness,â€ and said he did so because he wanted to give them a second chance.
Francis recently issued new procedures to oust bishops who shield pedophiles, amid an outcry from victimsâ€™ groups that bishops have long escaped punishment for moving abusers around rather than reporting them to police. The new procedures donâ€™t go into effect until September, meaning Pagotto was forced out under existing procedures in place at the Vaticanâ€™s office for bishops.
Italian news agency ANSA said the Vatican in 2015 sent an envoy to Paraiba to investigate and that, as a preliminary sanction, Pagotto was prohibited from ordaining priests and deacons or welcoming any priests or seminarians who had been expelled from other dioceses. [More]