A senior official of the Catholic Church in Mexico announced his resignation yesterday, the same day that a former priest filed accusations that Cardinal Norberto Rivera had concealed 15 cases of pedophilia by priests.
Rivera presented his resignation as Primate Archbishop of Mexico to church authorities, complying with regulations that require prelates to retire upon reaching the age of 75.
Rivera will turn 75 next Tuesday, said a spokesman of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
The accusation that Rivera covered up multiple cases of child sex abuse committed by priests throughout the country was filed before the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) by Alberto Athié Gallo, a priest who resigned in 2000 over what he saw as the systematic concealment of pedophilia in the church.
Accompanied by alleged victims of pedophile priests, Athié told a press conference that Rivera reported cases of sexual abuse of minors to Catholic authorities in the Vatican, but bypassed authorities in Mexico.
Athié recalled that last December Rivera declared he had never protected a pedophile and cited at least 15 cases in the Archdiocese of México of priests who had been tried and sentenced.
He said it could be inferred from the archbishop’s statement that he “had broad, full and indubitable knowledge of the commission of wrongful acts perpetrated by at least 15 priests assigned to the archdiocese in his charge.”
According to federal law, Athié said, such cases must be reported to the authorities.
The accusation against the head of the Catholic Church in Mexico includes information from an agency within the federal Interior Secretariat stating it had never received reports of crimes committed by priests, including pederasty, who were assigned to the Mexico City archdiocese.
There was no indication that Rivera’s resignation was linked to the accusation of a cover-up.