Pope lays down harshest punishment over sex abuse

  • 14/10/2018
Pope Francis.
Pope Francis. Photo credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has defrocked two Chilean bishops who have been caught up in the country's widening sexual abuse crisis, the Vatican said on Saturday.

The Vatican named the two men as Francisco Jose Cox Huneeus, archbishop emeritus of the city of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, archbishop emeritus of Iquique.

A Vatican statement in Spanish said the pope's decision was definitive and not open to appeal.

It referred to a part of canon law related to the crime of sexual abuse of minors.

Defrocking, officially called "reduced to the lay state", means they are no longer priests. It is the harshest punishment the Church can inflict on a member of the clergy.

Last month Francis defrocked Father Fernando Karadima, an 88-year-old Chilean priest who sexually abused teenage boys over a period of many years and is at the centre of a wider abuse scandal that is still under investigation.

Reuters