SAO PAULO (CNS) — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira of Limeira.
The bishop, 60, is being investigated by authorities for extortion of priests, mismanagement of the diocese’s funds and covering up alleged cases of abuse against minors by area priests. His resignation was announced May 17.
“I request my resignation for the sake of the church of Christ and for the good of this diocese,” said the bishop in a statement read to parishioners.
“I take with me in my heart this learning, in the confidence and assurance that this work is from God, and I place myself at the disposal of the Holy Mother church to serve her no matter the place and ministry entrusted to me by God from now on,” the bishop said.
According to the Sao Paulo state police, Bishop Oliveira took $975 from a local parish to build an artesian well in his beach house in Itanhaem. When faced with the accusation, the bishop confessed he obtained a “donation” from the parish and alleged he was facing financial problems.
Local media reported that the bishop gave investigators documents confirming that, in the past four years, he purchased two properties on the coast of Sao Paulo state, worth more than $243,000.
The bishop, who has led the Limeira Diocese for the past 12 years, is also under investigation for possibly having helped cover up cases of sexual abuse committed by Father Pedro Leandro Ricardo, in the cities of Americana, Limeira and Araras.
Since February, several altar boys have accused Father Ricardo of sexual abuse. The priest has been suspended from his religious duties until further notice.
Pope Francis accepted Bishop Oliveira’s resignation and designated Archbishop Orlando Brandes of Aparecida as a temporary replacement.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount 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.
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 check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: