Chilean Catholic Bishop Resigns After Controversial Comments About Women Being Absent at the Last Supper

Bishop Carlos Eugenio Irarrázabal, center, at a Mass in March in Santiago, Chile.
Credit: Esteban Felix/Associated Press

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the auxiliary bishop of Santiago just 24 days after the pontiff appointed him to the post, and weeks after the bishop made controversial comments about the lack of women at the Last Supper.

The pope appointed the bishop, Carlos Eugenio Irarrázabal, in an effort to rebuild the Roman Catholic Church’s credibility after a pervasive sexual abuse scandal that exposed hundreds of allegations now being investigated by Chilean criminal prosecutors.

More than 30 Chilean bishops offered their resignations in 2018 after a report ordered by Francis revealed a culture of abuse and cover-ups in Chile’s church. The 2,300-page document accused church leaders of failing to investigate credible allegations — even destroying documents to conceal them — and transferring priests accused of abuses to other parishes.

The Archdiocese of Santiago did not specify the reasons for Bishop Irarrázabal’s departure, but said on Friday that the pope had accepted his resignation “in favor of unity and for the good of the church.” The bishop could not be reached for comment.

His short tenure began with a television interview last month, in which he noted that there were no women seated at the table at the Last Supper and that “we have to respect that.”

“Jesus Christ made decisions, and they were not ideological,” he said, “and we want to be faithful to Jesus Christ.” He also said that perhaps women “like to be in the back room.”

According to the Bible, the Last Supper was Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, The Associated Press