VATICAN CITY ( Associated Press) — Pope Francis on Monday appointed Bishop Robert Francis Prevost, an American-born missionary to Peru, to assume the powerful office of Vatican bishop, replacing a retired Canadian who was recently elected to the post. Was accused of sexual misconduct.
Prevost, a Chicago native and former senior official of his Augustinian order, which began service in Peru in the 1980s, will take over the top office of the papacy that helps vet bishop nominations around the world and abuses committed by bishops. or also investigates allegations of neglect.
The outgoing president of the pontificate for bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, was one of the few Vatican heads appointed by Francis during the years of Benedict’s papacy in an explicit show of faith. At 78, Ouellette is three years over the retirement age limit for Bishop.
Of late, Ouellet has been embroiled in allegations of misconduct stemming from his time as Archbishop of Quebec, allegations he strongly denies. After the Vatican dropped the case against him last year for insufficient grounds, Ouellet sued his accuser in a Canadian civil court for alleged defamation.
Prevost, 67, led the Augustinian in Rome between 2001 and 2013. He also served as leader of the order in the province of Chicago and in 2014 was named apostolic administrator in northern Peru and later bishop of Chiclayo, where the Chicago Augustinians have long been present.
Like Ouellet, Prevost will also head the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Latin America.