Priests split on misappropriation accusations by Bishop


A split has emerged over the allegations of misappropriation of more than US$100,000 by Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng in Indonesia.

In June at least 69 of 167 diocesan priests together with some lay groups, called on Leteng to resign.

But, in recent weeks, some priests on Flores Island have been coming to the defence of the bishop.

Father John Mustaram, from St. Gregory Parish in Borong, defended Leteng in a statement at a wedding mass that has since gone viral on social media.

He called accusations of misappropriation – and of him having an affair – slander and warned other priests and lay Catholics not to speak against the bishop.

Another priest reportedly backed the bishop by accusing local media of playing up the row.

On a local news website,, a priest calling himself Father Rustam Effendy said the publicity was a plot by non-Catholics to destroy the church.

Representatives of the priests, accompanied by a bishops’ conference official met Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi on June 16, seeking his help for a complete overhaul and transparency from Leteng regarding how things are run in the diocese.

A bishops’ conference source told previously that the Vatican would make a decision on the matter after the nuncio met Leteng on July 7.

However, the source said on July 19, that the Vatican has yet to make a decision and that the complaint against the bishop had to go through proper channels.

Leteng has not responded to several requests for comment.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , ,