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Harassment charge prompts Manila bishop replacement

Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of Bishop Teodoro Bacani as head of the suburban Manila Diocese of Novaliches, nominating Bishop Antonio Tobias of San Fernando de La Union as his replacement.

63 year old Bishop Bacani was accused by his former female secretary of sexual harassment. Media reports said the secretary complained to the nuncio that the bishop embraced and tried to kiss her in his office. The bishop wrote to his clergy and parishioners that he was "deeply sorry for the consequences of any expression of affection to (his) secretary."

Yesterday's press statement from the Apostolic Nuncio says the decision was made locally and not in Rome, and Bishops Tobias' appointment is merely an "administrative procedure, to bring peace to the Church in the Philippines."

"Bishop Bacani remains as a bishop in good standing, with all rights and powers of a bishop. But at the moment he is not in charge of any particular diocese," the statement says.

Church media director Fr James Reuter commented that Bishop Bacani "probably resigned because the pressure of media was causing too much pain to too many people."

Bishop Bacani headed Novaliches for less than five months. He was installed as first bishop of the new diocese, carved out of Manila archdiocese, earlier this year.

Pope Accepts Resignation Of Bishop Teodoro Bacani (UCA News 25/11/03)

Most Rev Teodoro C. Bacani (CBCP Online)
Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr. (
Sex raps vs bishop shock churchgoers ( 9/6/03)

26 Nov 2003