Abuse scandal: Pope defrocks 2 Chilean bishops

FILE Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Saturday dismissed two Chilean bishops from their duties as priests amid allegations that they are linked to the sexual abuse of minors, the Vatican said in a statement.

"The decision was taken by Pope Francis on October 11 and may not be appealed", the Vatican said, adding that Cox and Fernandez were informed of the verdict.

"The decision was adopted by the pope last Thursday, Oct. 11, as a outcome of overt acts of abuse against minors.", the statement read.

The defrocking was "an extremely unusual, if not unprecedented" move, said Ines San Martin, a Vatican expert writing in the Crux specialist Catholic website.

Defrocking, officially called "reduced to the lay state", means the bishops have been expelled from priesthood.

A wide-ranging sexual abuse scandal has roiled Chile in recent months, including the deposition of a prominent - and notorious - priest just over two weeks ago.

The Vatican's announcement come shortly after the pope held talks in the Vatican with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and discussed the country's sex abuse crisis. Their conversation focused on "the painful scourge of abuse of minors", according to the Vatican, and affirmed their "collaboration to combat and prevent the perpetration of such crimes and their concealment".

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"We shared the hope that the Church may experience a renaissance and recuperate the affection, the closeness of the people of God, and can continue playing the important role that the Church plays in our country", Pinera told reporters. It is the harshest punishment the Church can inflict on a member of the clergy.

"The civil investigation is still ongoing because he's never responded to a court subpoena to give testimony", Vatican expert Ms San Martin said. He has been living in Germany since then but past year a new, formal accusation was received by the Vatican about an alleged case of abuse that happened in Germany in 2004. But subsequently, allegations of abuse were leveled against him.

The Vatican said he would remain part of the Schoenstatt Fathers institute in Germany. It is believed he is in poor health.

Cox, who is believed to have returned to Germany after a period in Chile, could not be reached for comment.

In September Pope Francis defrocked 88-year-old priest Fernando Karadima, who appeared before the court. So far, Francis has accepted the resignations of seven.

"Now it's up to the Chilean justice to do something!" Dos obispos pedófilos menos, expulsados del sacerdocio, el delincuente cardenal Errázuriz al descubierto con su encubrimiento.

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