At least 69 priests have resigned en masse after accusing their bishop of embezzling £78,000 ($100,000) of Church funds for personal use, and of having an affair.

Priests from the Diocese of Ruteng on the island of Flores, Indonesia, submitted their resignations as episcopal vicars and parish priests, demanding that Bishop Hubertus Leteng overhaul how the diocese is run.

Fr Marthen Chen said reform was badly needed “so the Church can be truly in line with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “We demand renewal in pastoral work as well as in Church and financial management.”

Bishop Leteng is alleged to have secretly borrowed £73,000 ($94,000) from the Indonesian bishops’ conference and a further £23,000 ($30,000) from his own diocese without providing an accountability report.

One priest told that the bishop had said it was to finance the education of a poor youth who was studying to be a pilot. When pressed for details, the bishop is alleged to have told them it was none of their business.

The resignations come a year after 112 of the diocese’s 167 priests signed a letter of no confidence in the bishop, expressing their suspicions that the money went to a woman with whom the bishop was alleged to have had an affair.

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