Indonesian priests resign over bishop scandal

Indonesian priests resign over bishop scandal Fr Marthen Chen

Dozens of priests from Indonesia have quit their posts after accusing a bishop of embezzling $100,000 (€89,000) of church funds for personal use. Almost 70 priests from the Catholic island Flores, in the Reuteng Diocese, submitted letters of resignation after demanding that Bishop Hubertus Leteng complies with a complete change of how the diocese is run.

“We demand renewal in pastoral work as well as in church and financial management,” said Fr Marthen Chen, spokesperson for the dissident clergy, adding that the overhaul is desperately needed “so the Church can be truly in line with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

A member of the priests council last week accused Bishop Leteng of borrowing $94,000 (€84,000) from the Indonesian Bishop’s Conference in Jakarta and $30,000 (€27,000) from the diocese. They say he didn’t provide an accountability report.

Last year 112 of 167 diocesan priests signed a letter of no confidence in the bishop, according to the priest who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The priests suspect the money went to a women the bishop is alleged to be having an affair with. In 2014 a priest that chose to leave the priesthood and go public about the bishop’s alleged affair said he was disappointed with what he had done. It has been reported that Bishop Leteng has not commented on the allegations.