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Pope Accepts Resignation From Bishop Who Masturbated on Video Call

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Via Shutterstock

Bishop Tome Ferreira da Silva gave Pope Francis his resignation after images circulated online of the bishop seminude during a video call with another man.

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Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Brazilian bishop after images circulated on social media last week of the bishop seminude and masturbating during a video call with another man.

Tome Ferreira da Silva had been bishop of the Diocese of Sao Jose do Rio Preto, which covers more than half a million Catholics in the state of Sao Paulo. The Vatican announced his resignation Wednesday.

Ferreira, who has been investigated by the Vatican previously, has said the man in the video is indeed him, according to Brazilian media. He said he believed it was released by someone he lives with, and he has reported the matter to local police.

In 2018, the Vatican looked into allegations that Ferreira had ignored reports of sexual abuse in the dioceses "and had exchanged sexual messages with an adolescent," the Associated Press notes. He then gave up his position as coordinator of the Ribeirao Preto archdiocese, of which Sao Jose do Rio Preto is part, but remained bishop. He said his resignation as coordinator was due to personal considerations.

Also, in 2015, he was "accused of taking a large amount of money from the church and giving it to his driver, with whom he allegedly had a romantic relationship," according to the AP. He said none of this was true.

The Vatican's process of removing bishops normally takes months or even years, but it acted swiftly in the case of Ferreira, likely because the video was "the final straw" after the previous allegations, the AP reports. The Catholic Church has often been accused of being too slow to take action on sexual abuse by clergy members.

It has remained intolerant of gay priests, and clergy members take a vow of celibacy, promising to refrain from sexual activity with people of any gender. And faithful Catholics are expected to engage in sex only within heterosexual marriage. Francis has sometimes struck a welcoming note toward LGBTQ+ people but has made clear the church still considers same-sex relationships a sin.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.