Chilean Bishop Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Scandal

By Emily Green
Santiago Times
October 9, 2012

Photo by dslr travel/Flickr

Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Chilean Bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez Tuesday, according to the Apostolic Nunciature in Chile. Pablo Lizama Riquelme, Archbishop of Antofagasta, has been appointed Apostolic Administrator in the northern city of Iquique, where Ordenes served, and will take up all responsibilities until a new bishop is appointed.

“My decision to leave the bishopric of Iquique was not painless,” Ordenes told local press. “I have made the decision so it will affect me and not affect the rest of the community.”

The first Chilean bishop to ever be investigated by the Vatican, Ordenes’s resignation comes after being investigated for allegations of sexual abuse to a minor brought forth in 2008. Ordenes, 47, was also the youngest bishop to be ordained in Chile.

According to La Tercera, the Vatican’s Chilean representative Ivo Scapolo traveled to the northern city of Arica on Oct. 3 to meet with Ordenes. Sources said that Scapolo, who is investigating Ordenes’s case, recommended the resignation and that Ordenes wrote and sent the letter addressed directly to Pope Benedict XVI with Scapolo that day.

The Vatican launched a formal investigation four months ago in regards to the allegations against Ordenes brought forth by Rodrigo Pino in 2008. Pino accused Ordenes of sexually abusing him when he was a child. Ordenes acknowledged having a “reckless act” with Pino, claiming, however, that Pino was 17 at the time and therefore not considered a minor. In an interview with La Tercera, Ordenes said he regretted the incident and apologized for it shortly after it occurred.

In the interview, Ordenes said he had offered to resign in April when the charges were first brought to his attention, but his resignation was not accepted by the Vatican.

“When I was brought for the interview in April, I raised the question of possibly leaving office out of respect for the greater good,” Ordenes said. “For me this remains an extremely valid alternative for the sake of others.”

Emily Green








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