Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Brazilian Bishop After Leak of Intimate Video

On Aug. 13, a minute-long video of Bishop Ferreira da Silva on a video call with another man began making the rounds on social media.

Bishop Tomé Ferreira da Silva, who resigned as Bishop of São José do Rio Preto Aug. 18, 2021.
Bishop Tomé Ferreira da Silva, who resigned as Bishop of São José do Rio Preto Aug. 18, 2021. (photo: Diocese de São José do Rio Preto via Facebook.)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Bishop of São José do Rio Preto on Wednesday, five days after a sexually explicit video of the bishop was shared on the internet. 

Bishop Tomé Ferreira da Silva, 60, led the Diocese of São José do Rio Preto from November 16, 2012, until Aug. 18. His resignation was announced by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.

“The Apostolic Nunciature informs that the Holy Father accepted the request today of resignation from the pastoral government of the Diocese of São José do Rio Preto, presented by His Excellency,” said the CNBB’s statement. 

The statement was signed by Bishop Joel Portella Amado, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of S. Sebastião of Rio de Janeiro and secretary general of the CNBB. 

Archbishop Moacir Silva of Ribeirão Preto was named the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of São José do Rio Preto.

On Aug. 13, a minute-long video of Bishop Ferreira da Silva on a video call with another man began making the rounds on social media. In the video the bishop, wearing a striped polo shirt, is seen masturbating.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that masturbation “is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” and that “the deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” 

Bishop Ferreira da Silva reportedly told the Brazilian network Globo that he is the person in the video, and he believed that its release was an act of revenge porn by someone with whom he lives. He told Brazilian media that he would be speaking to his attorney as well as Brazil’s state police force to determine how the video was released. 

This is not Bishop Ferreira da Silva’s first brush with controversy, and he has been investigated multiple times by the Vatican for alleged sexual misconduct or for covering up sexual misconduct. 

In 2015, he was accused of having a romantic relationship with his driver. Three years later, the diocese was investigated amid reports that the bishop had failed to investigate reports of abuse. He further was accused of sending sexually explicit messages to an adolescent.

Bishop Ferreira da Silva denied all charges.

The disgraced bishop had been ordained a priest of the Diocese of Campanha in 1987, and in 2005 he was consecrated a bishop. He served as auxiliary bishop of São Paulo until his appointment to São José do Rio Preto in 2012.