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Argentina: Bishop Fernando Bargallo resigns over racy beach photos

The photos show the bishop of the diocese of Merlo-Moreno "frolicking and embracing" a blonde, bikini-clad woman.
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Fernando Bargallo, 57, is the bishop of the diocese of Merlo-Moreno near the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

A bishop in Argentina has resigned over racy photos that showed him cavorting with a woman at a luxury beach resort in Mexico.

Fernando Bargallo, 57, is the bishop of the diocese of Merlo-Moreno.  He presented his resignation to the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Buenos Aires, according to the Argentine news website Clarin.

NewsCore reports that Pope Benedict XVI has been briefed on the situation and is currently making a decision on whether to accept Bargallo's decision.

Fox News Latino explains that the photos were published in the local media earlier this week and show Bargallo with a blonde woman on a beach in Mexico in early 2011. "In one picture Bargallo is close and face-to-face with the bikini-clad woman, others show them simply enjoying the water and the view," the Christian Post writes.  Bargallo has admitted that he was the one in the photos but said that the woman with him was a "childhood friend." 

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The Catholic News Agency says that Bargallo had asked for forgiveness over the scandal, and quotes from a statement which read: “I regret that that situation, which was imprudent on my part, could lead to misinterpretations." He added: “I have very deep feelings for the priesthood and my dedication to the Lord Jesus and I wish to persevere in them until the end,” he noted.

Bargallo was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Moron in 1994 and has served as Bishop of Merlo-Moreno since 1997, according to the Catholic Culture website.  He is currently president of Caritas Latin America and was president of Caritas Argentina until last year.

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