Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of an Argentinean bishop who admitted a romantic relationship with a woman photographed with him on a beach in Mexico.
The resignation of Bishop Fernando Maria Bargallo of Merlo-Moreno, the diocese west of Buenos Aires, was accepted June 26 under a provision of canon law allowing bishops to resign if they become unsuited for their office for a “grave reason.”
The Pope has appointed Bishop emeritus Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaretto of San Isidro as apostolic administrator of Merlo-Moreno.
Last week, photos were published showing the 57-year-old Bishop Bargallo and a woman on a beach in Mexico. He initially acknowledged that the photos were of him but said that the woman was only a “childhood friend.”
Before the bishop admitted the relationship, he voiced regret that the photos “could lead to misinterpretations.”
“I sincerely ask for forgiveness if this incident has caused or could cause any harm,” he said.
Bishop Bargallo had served as president of Caritas Argentina until 2011 and is the current president of Caritas Latin America. He became Bishop of Merlo-Moreno in May 1997.