Out South: Priest caught in the act

One of Argentina's most progressive priest resigned this week after allegation that a video of him and another man having sex was going to be released to the public. In a brief statement issued Monday, the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy thanked the former bishop of the northern province of Santiago del Estero, Juan Carlos Maccarone, for his "long years of work at the service of the poor." The communiqué expressed support for Maccarone "with affection and comprehension," but did not mention the reason for his resignation. Maccarone, 64, who was bishop of one of the country's poorest dioceses, submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on Friday. Catholic priest Eduardo de la Serna, who belongs to the "Carlos Mujica" movement of progressive priests, told IPS that Maccarone was "one of Argentina's best bishops," and that it was "ridiculous" to think that an incident involving his private life had led to the resignation of a bishop of his calibre. In the view of Sergio Lamberti, another priest close to the former bishop, the real reason underlying Maccarone's departure was not his private life, even though the Church demands celibacy and condemns homosexuality as a sin and a sexual perversion. In this case no crime was committed, because the man who was filmed with the bishop was a consenting adult, the priest noted. "We are persecuted for other reasons, and they take advantage of our weaknesses," said the priest. "It's clear that this was orchestrated, to bring him down."


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