.- In a six-paragraph letter sent to the Permanent Committee of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Juan Carlos Maccarone, who resigned this week after a video tape surfaced of the bishop engaged in a homosexual act with a 23 year-old man, apologized for the incident and said extortion was behind the scandal. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires read the letter aloud to the 30 bishops that make up the Committee.
“I owe you all much,” Bishop Maccarone wrote. “I wish to say to you as brothers that despite this incident, my life has not been a lie. I have always obeyed the Church since my days as a seminarian and I have accomplished things I never imagined for my priestly life,” he said.
“Out of obedience,” the letter continues, “I accepted the episcopate and the different destinations in which I was to exercise it. Likewise I accepted without question the extraordinary tasks that the bishops entrusted to me.”
According to Bishop Maccarone, the incident that led to his resignation was organized as part of an extortion plan in order to “take advantage of my good will, and as a consequence it has damaged my moral credibility and my authority.”
Acknowledging his own responsibility for the scandal, the bishop said he was “very saddened” by the incident and asked his brother bishops for mercy and forgiveness.
“And thus my other feeling or state of mind as a result of the painful moment I am experiencing is one of great liberation from the anguish that this incident has caused me.”
In conclusion, Bishop Maccarone writes, “I dearly love the Church in Santiago and Santiago del Estero, and I was committed to serving them the best that I could. They deserve a good shepherd soon, as in the Church there is a bastion against the powerful and against injustice, against which we struggle with the priests and the faithful, with the religious and with men and women of good will, even at the risk of their own lives. This stance has a cost, like what is happening with this painful situation.”