YAKIMA, Wash. -- Bishop Carlos Sevilla of the Yakima Diocese announced today he won't be attending any of the events for the Pope's visit to the United States.
Bishop Sevilla says it has nothing to do with the recent allegations that he covered up the sexual abuse conviction of a former Yakima Diocese priest. However, the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests or "snap" have been calling on the bishop to skip the papal visit since news of reverend Joaquin Estrada's conviction surfaced.
The Bishop says he was asked to celebrate in the funeral mass for the mother of an employee at the diocese at the same time as the papal visit.
"The employee whose mother died is our diocesan chancellor. She has been a trusted and loyal coworker of Bishop Sevilla for many years. To the Bishop that is a very important even sacred obligation that he is going to fulfill," said Rev. Robert Siler the Diocese Chief of Staff.
The Bishop also wants the media to focus on the many things the Yakima Diocese is doing to help prevent child abuse and not only on this one issue.
He says Estrada's case was discussed heavily by Catholics in that community and it was a matter of public record, but admits he probably should have announced it here.