Pope Francis has appointed a high-ranking clergyman to temporary replace a bishop who was arrested on suspicion of diverting the equivalent of more than $600,000 from the coffers of churches in three cities near Brazil's capital.

The National Conference of Brazilian Bishops said Wednesday that Uberaba Archbishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto will assume the duties of Jose Ronaldo, bishop of the city of Formosa. Peixoto will administer the diocese until a new bishop is appointed.

The alleged diversion of funds also took place in the cities of Posse and Planaltina.

Prosecutors say Ronaldo and four priests bought a cattle ranch and a lottery ticket shop with money from collection boxes, tithes, donations and wedding and baptism fees.