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Pope Francis Fires Paraguayan Bishop Suspected of Child Abuse Cover-Up

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate a mass at Mother Teresa square in central Tirana on Sept. 21.
Pope Francis arrives to celebrate a mass at Mother Teresa square in central Tirana on Sept. 21.FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP - Getty Images

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has dismissed a Paraguayan bishop accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing young people in the United States, the Vatican said Thursday. The Argentinian-born pontiff vowed zero tolerance—likening such abuse to "a Satanic mass"—following the Catholic Church’s series of child abuse scandals. A statement said the pope had removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his post as head of the diocese of Ciudad del Este and named another bishop to run it as a temporary administrator.

Vatican sources said the bishop refused to resign following an investigation of the allegations. Livieres Plano had defended both himself and the priest, saying the charges against them were unfounded. The Vatican said Pope Francis had taken the "onerous decision" to remove Livieres Plano after careful examination of the results of the Vatican investigation. The dismissal of bishop came two days after the pope approved the arrest of a former archbishop accused of paying for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic.

Image: Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano
Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano walks to church in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay on July 25.Raul Gonzalez, ABC / AP, file

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