March 23, 2018 / 10:23 PM / a month ago

Brazilian bishop, priests charged with stealing from church coffers

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A Catholic bishop and several priests in Brazil have been charged with misappropriation of church funds uncovered in a corruption investigation, prosecutors in Goais state said on Friday.

Police this week arrested the bishop of Formosa, Jose Ribeiro, on allegations that he and other Catholic clergymen stole about 2 million reais ($608,000) from church coffers.

The funds came from donations and fees collected on ceremonies such as weddings and baptisms, the Goais prosecutor’s office said in a statement on its website.

The prosecutors have charged 11 people, including several lay people, with misappropriation, money laundering, “ideological falsehood” and criminal association.

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto of the Brazilian city Uberaba to run the diocese of Formosa for the Holy See, the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reporting by Jake Spring; editing by Grant McCool

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