VATICAN CITY — On Oct. 9, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez of Iquique, Chile, who has been under investigation by the Vatican since April for alleged sexual abuse.
The Holy See's Press Office said the bishop resigned in conformity with a specific code in canon law, which allows for resignation “because of ill health or some other grave cause.”
The Apostolic Nunciature in Chile also announced that Archbishop Pablo Lizama Riquelme of Antofagasta has been named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Iquique.
On Oct. 2, the Nunciature confirmed that the Vatican was investigating Bishop Ordenes.
“Since the outset of this case, the Nunciature has sought to offer psychological help and care to those affected and has been in contact with Bishop Ordenes, who is on medical leave,” it said.
The Diocese of Iquique announced that same day that the 47-year-old bishop's kidney ailment had taken a turn for the worse and that doctors prescribed a period of rest. After spending a number of days in Peru, Bishop Ordenes is now back in Chile.
The Communications Department of the Diocese of Iquique called “on the community to intensify its prayer, strengthen the bonds of unity and pray to the Lord for speedy clarification of these facts.”