VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a Brazilian bishop who was arrested and charged with embezzling thousands of dollars in diocesan funds.
In March, Bishop Jose Ronaldo Ribeiro of Formosa was arrested and charged, along with four diocesan priests, with stealing about $606,000 of diocesan money.
The Vatican also announced Sept. 12 that Archbishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto of Uberaba will continue to serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese. The archbishop was first named apostolic administrator by the pope March 21, two days after Bishop Ribeiro’s arrest.
Prosecutors in the state of Goias allege Bishop Ribeiro and the four priests purchased a cattle ranch and a lottery store with the diverted money. The courts authorized prosecutors to wiretap the telephones of the accused.
Officials also issued warrants and searched the bishop’s home where they found money hidden in a secret compartment in a closet.
Douglas Chegury, the lead prosecutor of the case, told Brazilian journalists at the time of the arrest that Bishop Ribeiro also was suspected of stealing from parishioners in another diocese, in the state of Minas Gerais, where he served from 2007 to 2014.
“The bishop faced this same type of problem in the Diocese of Janauba. He was transferred from there to here, where he implemented a similar scheme,” Chegury was quoted as saying by G1 news site.
Prosecutors also were investigating allegations that priests paid Bishop Ribeiro monthly “allowances” so that they could be placed in more profitable parishes.
On March 20, the Brazilian bishops’ conference issued a statement expressing solidarity with the parishioners of the Formosa Diocese.
The statement said the bishops reminded Bishop Ribeiro “that justice is to abandon oneself to the merciful will of God. The truth of the facts must be determined with justice and transparency, for the good of the individual church and the bishop.”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103