Latin America & Caribbean

Chilean Catholic bishop resigns over paedophilia accusations

A Roman Catholic bishop in Chile accused of paedophilia has resigned, saying he did not want his personal problems to affect the Church.

Marco Antonio Ordenes, who served as bishop in the city of Iquique, was accused of engaging in acts of a sexual nature with an altar boy.

The Chilean Catholic Church is investigating.

The bishop denies the accusations by the former altar boy, who was 15 at the time of the alleged incident.

In a recent interview with Chile's La Tercera newspaper, the 47-year-old priest admitted engaging in an "imprudent act".

He said the boy was not under age when the incident happened.

"God is my witness, I have always tried to serve without interest. Many times I erred, but I never sought to hurt, offend or manipulate anybody," the priest said.

Acting head of Chile's Bishops Conference, Alejandro Goic, said in a statement that Catholics in the South American country had been "shaken" by the recent scandal.

"The improper conduct admitted publicly by Bishop Ordenes seems to be very serious," added Archbishp Goic.

Marco Antonio Ordenes is the highest-ranking Chilean priest to be accused of paedophilia.

The country's Catholic Church has apologised over sex abuse allegations against some 20 priests.

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