New bishop to help Vatican sex scandal diocese clean up its act

12 January 2015 - 16:16 By Sapa-dpa
File photo of a priest.
File photo of a priest.
Image: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock

An Italian bishop who has come under fire for failing to check on the sexual misconduct of his priests has been given an "assistant," the Vatican said Saturday.

Pope Francis's decision to dispatch Bishop Guglielmo Borghetti to the diocese of Albenga-Imperia was widely seen as an attempt to help resident bishop Mario Oliveri, 70, get a better grip on local church affairs.

In a statement, Oliveri said he voluntarily asked for assistance, admitting that he had neglected certain duties due to old age and the need to look after a sick brother.

He said Borghetti would specifically help him with the training of priests.

In November, the Corriere della Sera newspaper had reported that some priests from the Albenga-Imperia diocese had criminal records for paedophilia, some had posed naked on Facebook, one doubled up as a barman in nightclubs, while another was caught stealing church money.

The article also noted that diocese was a bastion of ultra-conservative Catholicism, describing Oliveri as a sympathizer with the Society of Saint Pius X, a rebel group that rejects the liberalizing reforms ushered in the 1960s and is associated with anti-Semitism.