- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ASUNCION, PARAGUAY (AP) - President Fernando Lugo said Wednesday that he will return to the Roman Catholic Church when his term ends, despite acknowledging he fathered a child while still a bishop in rural Paraguay.

Lugo did not explain what role he would seek to play in the church, however.

“When I leave office I will return to the church because I never left it _ I only left the priesthood,” Lugo said during a televised interview.

“Fortunately, the Catholic Church is very pluralistic and has many places where I will be able to work when I leave the presidency on Aug. 16, 2013,” Lugo said.

Lugo, 57, renounced his status as bishop in December 2006 to run for president.

It was not until July 31 of last year that Pope Benedict XVI gave him unprecedented permission to resign, relieving him of his chastity vows.

During the interview, the bishop-turned-president declined to address the intimate relationship with his then-parishioner Viviana Carrillo, whose relationship with Lugo began when she was 16, according to local news media reports.

Lawyers of Carrillo, now 26, say a child was born on May 4, 2007. Lugo acknowledged Monday that he is the father of Guillermo Armindo _ who is named in honor of Lugo’s grandfather _ following a public paternity suit spat the previous week.

Catholic officials in Paraguay published a news release on Tuesday asking forgiveness for the “sins of ministers and faithful,” and clarifying that Lugo can’t be punished for conceiving a child as a bishop because he is now a layman.

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