Pope Francis Fires Bishop Who Protected Alleged Pedophile Priest

Pope Francis fired Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his position as Bishop of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, a statement released by the Vatican announced. The statement did not give the details for why the bishop was fired, but it did say that there were “serious pastoral reasons,” according to Breitbart.

The bishop has been accused of protecting and even promoting a priest that had been accused of inappropriate sexual relations with children. In 2002, Father Urrutigoity was accused of molesting children enrolled at St. Gregory’s Academy in Scranton, PA. At the time, the bishop who oversaw the alleged pedophile priest suspended him and another priest from their positions due to the accusations.

Fr. Urrutigoity was transferred to Canada where he stayed for nearly a decade. After that the priest who had been accused of being a pedophile moved to Paraguay. In Paraguay, the now fired bishop promoted the priest to vicar general of the diocese.

Last March, the bishop of Scranton wrote the Vatican a letter asking Pope Francis to address concerns over possible sexual abuse perpetrated by Fr. Urrutigoity. According to Breitbart, the letter warned that he was “a serious threat to young people.”

The Catholic Church has faced strong criticism recently for customary practices of the past involving pedophilia. Just this month, Inquisitr reported on the conviction of a former priest on counts of child rape and bestiality.

At the same time the bishop of Scranton sent the Pope a letter, the diocese of Scranton released a statement saying that Father Urrutigoity had been accepted into the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, despite strong warnings that the priest was not safe to be around children.

“In every instance, Bishop Martino clearly expressed his reservations concerning Father Urrutigoity, who was identified as posing a serious threat to young people,” the statement explained. “Bishop Martino also carefully and consistently expressed his grave doubts about this cleric’s suitability for priestly ministry and cautioned the Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay to not allow Father Urrutigoity to incardinate into his diocese. Despite these serious cautions, Bishop Rogelio Livieres informed the Diocese of Scranton that he was allowing Father Urrutigoity to incardinate into his Paraguay diocese.”

A spokesman for the diocese in Paraguay declared the Scranton bishop’s concerns and the allegations against Fr. Urrutigoity baseless.

“The bishop conducted very thorough research and didn’t find anything improper,” the spokesman said. The Pope’s firing of the bishop reportedly has caused concerns among other bishops, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Still, the Vatican press office said that the issues concerning Fr. Urrutigoity were part of the reason why Bishop Livieres was fired.

Ex-Bishop Livieres, on the other hand, has responded to being fired with a letter addressed to the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops denying all allegations of wrongdoing.

“Despite all the talk about dialog, mercy and openness,” the ex-bishop stated, “I haven’t even been able to speak to Pope Francis to clear up doubts and concerns.”

“As an obedient son of the Church,” the former bishop, now fired by the Pope continued, “I accept this decision in spite of the fact that I find it baseless and arbitrary. The Pope will have to answer to God for it, since he won’t speak to me.”

[Photo via the Catholic Church of England]