This is something exceptional, via AP:

Pope Francis responded Wednesday to reports of poor governance and moral failings in the Ecuadorian diocese of Riobamba by not only accepting the resignation of the retiring bishop but that of his heir apparent as well.

Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignations of Bishop Julio Parrilla Diaz, who turned 75 last month, and his deputy, Monsignor Gerardo Miguel Nieves Loja, 53.

Nieves had been named “coadjutor bishop” for Riobamba last year and was due to be consecrated bishop in February, to take over when Parrilla retired at 75, the normal retirement age for bishops. But Nieves offered his resignation to Francis a week before the ceremony.

Parrilla confirmed Nieves’ resignation in a Feb. 19 letter to his flock, reproduced by the Spanish-language Catholic agency Religion Digital. In it, Parrilla said he understood Nieves’ decision and noted that 500 people had signed a letter in support of him.

The resignation came weeks after a longtime Spanish missionary in Riobamba, Julia Serrano, publicly blasted the governance of the dioceses under Parrilla and questioned the “moral quality” of his presumed successor.

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