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Facing prosecution, Colombian bishop steps down

October 15, 2012

A Colombian bishop who was sued for slander by one of his own priests and now faces possible prosecutor by civil authorities has submitted his resignation.

Bishop Carlos Prada Sanmiguel of Duitama-Sogamoso, Colombia, stepped down at the age of 72—more than 2 years short of the usual retirement age. A terse Vatican announcement said that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the bishop’s resignation in accordance with #401-2 of the Code of Canon Law. That canon stipulates that the Pope may accept the resignation of a bishop who becomes unfit for office because of illness “or other grave reason.”

Bishop Prada Sanmiguel had been sued for slander by Father Edward Perez, a priest whom he suspended from ministry. The bishop had explained the suspension by saying that Father Perez was living openly with a concubine. The bishop had refused to testify when the case came to trial, insisting that the conflict should be resolved in canonical rather than secular courts. Colombian officials plan to prosecute him for refusing to answer a court summons.


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