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Archbishop Welby's Vatican representative busted for sexual misconduct - UPDATED

Archbishop Welby's Vatican representative busted for sexual misconduct

By Jules Gomes
VOL's European Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
December 21, 2018

The Anglican Communion's chief ambassador to the Vatican, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi resigned on Friday as Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome (ACR) after he was suspended for sexual misconduct.

A statement from the Governors of the ACR said that his resignation had been accepted and that urgent steps were being taken to appoint an interim director as the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See.

The Governors have appealed for potential victims with "a safeguarding concern or requiring support" to approach the Church of England's Safeguarding team.

The scandal is a serious source of embarrassment for Archbishop Welby, who appointed Ntahoturi to his position in October 2017.

Ntahoturi served four years in prison following the 1987 military coup against dictator of Burundi Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. Ntahoturi served as President Bagaza's chief of staff.

His appointment to what is referred to as the Anglican "embassy" in Rome was a source of puzzlement as President Bagaza's regime persecuted Roman Catholic Church in Burudi.[1] Around 65% of the population is Catholic.

Bagaza banned weekday church services and prohibited laymen from teaching Scripture. He closed the Catholic radio station and newspaper and drastically cut the number of foreign missionaries by expelling them or refusing to renew their visas.

Bagaza's government prohibited religious gatherings without prior government approval, nationalized Catholic primary and secondary schools and closed a network of Catholic literacy groups, which taught 300,000 children and adults.

In 1986, Pope John Paul II sent a letter to Burundi's Roman Catholic bishop last year to protest what he viewed as Government persecution of the church.

Ntahoturi, who studied at both Cambridge and Oxford, was at the helm of the Bagaza's repressive government from 1979 to 1986.

Although he claimed to be a conservative, Ntahoturi who attended GAFCON II in October 2013, angered evangelicals by attending a "Transformation Through Friendship" gathering put on by The Episcopal Church in October 2014. In January 2015 VOL reported that five GAFCON Primates wrote a blistering letter to Ntahoturi accusing him of betraying the faith.

Church of England sources say that his appointment to Rome was part of Justin Welby's strategy to co-opt the conservative bishops of the Global South.

On Tuesday, Rebel Priest reported the appointment of Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, as Chair of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome despite his opposition to fundamental Roman Catholic doctrine on abortion and homosexuality.[2]

Ntahoturi has been campaigning against Sexual and Gender-based Violence within the Anglican Church in Burundi. His own sexual misconduct will be seen as a betrayal of his activism in this area.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/27/world/new-burundi-leader-vows-to-lift-curbs-on-church.html

[2] https://www.julesgomes.com/single-post/Anglican-bishop-who-blesses-abortion-and-gay-sex-gets-top-job-in-Rome

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