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New Mexico archbishop replaces controversial cardinal

World News
Tue, 06 Feb 2018

Mexico City: Catholic Cardinal Carlos Aguiar was installed Monday as the new archbishop of Mexico, replacing Norberto Rivera, who was ensnared in scandal for allegedly covering up the crimes of pedophile priests.

Aguiar, who unlike Rivera is seen as close to Pope Francis, gave an inaugural mass after a ceremonial handover in Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest in the Americas.

His homily focused on the violence sweeping predominantly Catholic Mexico, where drug cartel turf wars fuelled record bloodshed last year, with more than 25,000 murders.

"Today we are overwhelmed by situations that violate peace and justice, violence that denigrates us as brothers," said Aguiar, 67, formerly the archbishop of the central city of Tlalnepantla.

Rivera, a staunch conservative, was swept up in allegations that he covered up the crimes of pedophile priests.

Last year two former priests pressed charges against him, accusing him of hiding 15 priests' child sexual abuse from the authorities.

He is a controversial figure in Mexico, where he is known for a lavish lifestyle.

Rivera tendered his resignation last June upon turning 75, as is now the rule for all cardinals. The pope accepted the resignation in December.

Vatican-watchers say that is an unusually short period of time.

"It reflects the deep differences and even antagonism between Cardinal Rivera and the pope," Bernardo Barranco, author of a book on Rivera, told AFP.