Slovakian archbishop removed from post

Vatican City, Jul 3, 2012 / 03:16 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI removed Archbishop Robert Bezak of Trnava, Slovakia from the pastoral care of his archdiocese without explanation on July 2.

According to Italian media, the 52-year-old archbishop – who took over the archdiocese in 2009 – was removed for administrative reasons.

Archbishop Bezak read a letter about the action during July 1 Sunday Mass at the cathedral in Trnava, noting that the Vatican asked him not to talk to the press.

The archbishop told congregants he does not know the specific accusations against him. However, he believes that one reason for the action may be his criticism of his predecessor Archbishop Ján Sokol, the Slovakian Spectator reported.

Archbishop Sokol was an object of controversy for praising President Jozef Tiso, a priest who lead the country during World War II when it was allied with the Nazis.

The removal of a bishop from office is a rare event. During his pontificate so far, Pope Benedict has removed four, including Archbishop Bezak.

In March 2011 the Pope removed Jean-Claude Makaya Loembe of Pointe-Noire in the Democratic Republic of Congo for misusing diocese funds. That May, he removed Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, Australia for dissenting from Catholic teaching and for abuses in church governance and liturgy.

In May of this year, Pope Benedict removed Italian Bishop Francesco Miccichè of the Diocese of Trapani in Sicily after allegations of financial corruption.

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