24 October 2014, The Tablet

Vatican says Italian diocese facing investigation

Pope Francis has ordered an inquiry into an Italian bishop over the alleged behaviour of some of its priests.

The apostolic visitor will assess the capability of Bishop Mario Oliveri, who has been in charge of the diocese for 25 years.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told The Tablet that the diocese “may be expecting an apostolic visitator,” but would not disclose any further details.

An independent investigator has been called in to the Albenga-Imperia diocese in northern Italy, where one priest has served a convicted for child abuse, another one is accused of defrauding parishioners, one allegedly had an affair with a parishioner, and one was allegedly caught posting inappropriate pictures of themselves on social media.

The bishop is accused of having welcomed aspiring priests into the seminary without discernment, including former models, priests with tattoos, bodybuilders and others who had been expelled from the seminary.

The decision to order an investigation follows an investigation by the papal nuncio Adriano Bernardini, who was sent in after Francis was warned about the diocese, La Repubblica reported.

A local doctor handed Pope Francis a dossier of complaints from parishioners earlier this year, La Repubblica reported.

The bishop did not respond to requests for comment.

The investigator is expected to be Alberto Maria Careggio, former bishop of Sanremo-Ventimiglia, the 77-year-old former mountain guide to John Paul II, according to rumours in Rome.

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