Paraguay: president, former bishop admits paternity

 The President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo has admitted that he is the father of a two year old child, conceived while he was still a Catholic bishop.

Lugo made the admission five days after lawyers announced they were filing a paternity suit against him.

He said: "Here and now, before my people and my conscience, I declare with absolute honesty and a sense of duty and transparency in relation to the controversy provoked by the paternity suit, that there was a relationship with Viviana Carrillo... I assume all responsibilities ... and recognise the paternity of the child."

The president said he will not comment further on the matter.

In her paternity suit, Ms Carrillo, 26, said the relationship began when she was 16. She met the bishop when she was preparing for Confirmation. She said Lugo had promised to resign as a bishop and have a family with her.

Lugo was ordained a priest 1977 and worked as a missionary in Ecuador for five years. He returned to Paraguay in 1982, but after a year, was expelled from the country for his oitspoken criticism of the dictatorship. After studying in Rome he returned in 1987, two years before the regime fell.

He was ordained Bishop in 1994, for nation's poorest diocese of San Pedro. As he became more involved in politics he resigned as bishop 2005. He had requested laicization in order to run for office. The Holy See refused the request on the grounds that bishops could not undergo laicization, and also denied him the requested canonical permission to run for civil elected office.

Subsequently following his declaration of candidacy, the Holy See suspended him from the discharge of the ordained ministry, but did not dismiss him from the clerical state. In July 2008, the Vatican reversed its decision and Pope Benedict XVI accepted Lugo's request for laicization.

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