Pope fires Slovak bishop in rare show of papal power

Bishops usually asked to resign


VATICAN CITY — The pope has fired a 52-year-old Slovak bishop for apparently mismanaging his diocese in a rare show of papal power.

Usually when bishops run into trouble — either for alleged moral lapses or management problems — they are persuaded by the Vatican to resign, but Pope Benedict XVI has become increasingly willing to forcibly remove bishops who refuse to step down.

Benedict sacked Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, Australia last year after he called for the church to consider ordaining women and married men.

On Monday, the Vatican said Benedict had “relieved from pastoral care” Bishop Robert Bezak of Trnava, Slovakia. No reason was given, but Italian news reports said administrative problems in the diocese were to blame.

Bishops normally hand in their resignation when they turn 75 years old, their normal retirement age.