Pope Accepts Resignation of Bishop Involved in Homosexual Encounters

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

VATICAN CITY, July 1, 2009 ( - The Pope has accepted the resignation of Uruguayan Bishop Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira, removing him from office following public revelations that he had engaged in sodomy with two men.

The involvement of Bishop Barbosa in homosexual activity was revealed after he lodged a criminal complaint against his two accomplices for extortion.

According to media accounts, one of the two had filmed the sexual encounter with Barbosa using a cell phone, and later attempted to extort money from the bishop in exchange for silence.

After Barbosa complained to authorities, the scandal became public, and members of the bishop's diocese of Minas demanded his resignation, which was accepted by the pope several days later.

"The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the diocese of Minas submitted by Monsenor Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira, in conformity with article 401.2 of the CDC [Code of Canon Law]," the Vatican said in a written communication issued to the press.

Article 401.2 orders that "A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office."

The Uruguayan Episcopal Conference issued a statement expressing its "profound grief for the serious sin" committed by Barbosa, which they said "has damaged the Church and especially the Diocese of Minas."

"We ask the Father, rich in mercy, to strengthen our brother to continue accepting the consequences of his actions, and that these painful facts will not obscure the faithfulness of many," the bishops added.

Barbosa apologized for his actions in a written statement that was read from the pulpits of the diocese.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual attraction is objectively disordered, although such a disorder is not necessarily the fault of the person who suffers from it.  However in contrast to the psychological disorder represented by homosexual attraction, the Church teaches that homosexual acts are "intrinsically evil," constituting a "mortal sin."

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