After accusations of a cover-up

After accusations of a cover-up

A candle burns in the sacristy © Corinne Simon (KNA)

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of the controversial Brazilian bishop of Limeira, Vilson Dias de Oliveira. This was announced by the Vatican without further details. The clergyman is being investigated for extortion.

In addition, Vilson Dias de Oliveira (60) is alleged to have covered up cases of sexual abuse. An internal investigation into the allegations has also been underway at the Vatican for months now. Protesters demanded the bishop's resignation.

Silence money demanded

Oliveira alleged to have covered up several cases of abuse. In January, for example, the clergyman Leandro Ricardo was suspended from his activities after several people, including underage altar boys, testified against him. In addition, several padres testified to authorities that Oliveira had covered up abuse cases in other parishes as well. For this the bishop had demanded a hush money.

Oliveira owns ten properties, according to media reports. He is reportedly accused of spending hush money on celebrations. After authorities began investigating in January, he said, the bishop tried to use threats to cover up the payments. In February, the Vatican began its own investigation. The report, prepared by Joao Inacio Muller, then bishop of Lorena and now archbishop of Campinas, was forwarded to the Vatican.

Apostolic administrator: Archbishop Brandes

Local media speculate that the Vatican sees the abuse scandal in Limeira as an example of its new "zero tolerance" policy. The future of Oliveira, who has led the diocese since 2007, is still uncertain. Pending the appointment of a new bishop in Limeira, Pope Francis on Friday installed Aparecida Archbishop Orlando Brandes, 73, as apostolic administrator to lead the diocese.

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