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Pope removes Brazil bishop accused of stealing church funds

September 12, 2018

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Brazilian bishop who was arrested earlier this year along with other church officials on accusations they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds.

Francis replaced Formosa Bishop Jose Ronaldo Ribeiro with a temporary administrator, a maneuver he has been using in places where he needs to get rid of bishops quickly and doesn’t have a permanent successor lined up.

The Argentine pope had named Ribeiro to the post in 2014. But in March, Ribeiro and several other priests were arrested and accused of diverting about $600,000 from church collections, according to Brazilian media reports.

Francis is under increasing pressure to sanction bishops accused of misconduct — sexual, financial and otherwise — amid a revolt from laity over their privileges.

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