|Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Trnava, Slovakia|
CWN - July 02, 2012For the 4th time in just over one year, Pope Benedict XVI has forced a bishop from office.
The Vatican announced on July 2 that the Pope had removed Archbishop Robert Bezak from his post as head of the Archdiocese of Trnava, Slovakia.
No explanation was given for the move, but the Trnava archdiocese had been the focus of an apostolic visitation earlier this year, amid charges that Church funds had been mismanaged. Archbishop Bezak reportedly refused a Vatican request for his resignation. At the age of 52, he is 23 years short of mandatory retirement age. He had been appointed to the Trnava post in 2009, succeeding Archbishop Jan Sokol, who retired on schedule at the age of 75. According to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, there were reports of friction between Archbishop Sokol and his successor.
On 3 previous occasions Pope Benedict has taken the highly unusual step of removing a bishop from his diocesan post:
- In March 2011 the Pope removed Bishop Jean-Claude Makaya Loembe from the Dicoese of Pointe-Noire, Congo, reportedly because of misuse of diocesan funds;
- In May of the same year the Pope removed Bishop William Morris from the Diocese of Toowoomba in Australia, after months of conflict over the bishop’s unorthodox statements on Church teaching and discipline; and
- In May of this year the Pope removed Bishop Francesco Micciché from the Diocese of Trapani, Italy, apparently because of concerns about financial irregularities.