Bishop in Sex Scandal Quits after Uproar

The Age [Manila, Philippines]
November 26, 2003

A prominent bishop embroiled in a sex scandal in Roman Catholic Philippines has resigned, Pope John Paul II's representative in Manila said yesterday.

Bishop Teodoro Bacani had ceased to become the archbishop of Manila's Novaliches suburb but will remain in the Catholic Church, said Father Walter Erbi, first secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.

"The Holy Father has accepted the resignation tendered by Bishop Bacani. However, his resignation does not mean that he's been removed from the church. He remains absolutely with the Catholic Church," Erbi told reporters.

Erbi refused to comment on the status of a probe by the Vatican's college of cardinals into allegations by Bacani's former secretary that he had sexually abused her.

Bacani has denied the allegations but apologised for "any inappropriate expression of affection" to the secretary.

The alleged affair of Bacani, one of two bishops embroiled in sex scandals in the country earlier this year, received prominent news coverage locally.

Bishop Crisostomo Yalung, who ran a parish in Antipolo suburb east of Manila, earlier quit the clergy after being accused of fathering two children.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time last year publicly apologised for sexual abuses committed by Filipino priests, but insisted that a majority of clergymen remained faithful to their vows.

The Church admitted that some 200 priests had been investigated for sexual misconduct over the past 20 years. Some were dismissed while most resigned voluntarily.

The Philippines is Asia's bastion of Christianity, with majority of its 80 million citizens belonging to the Catholic faith.

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