Pope Francis defrocks two bishops caught in Chile’s widening Catholic church sex abuse crisis

Saturday, October 13, 2018
By Paul Martin

The Vatican announced the defrocking of Francisco Jose Cox Huneeus, 84 and Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, 53, on Saturday
It said the decision was final and neither man would be able to appeal
Last month Francis defrocked Father Fernando Karadima, an 88-year-old priest
In May all of the country’s 34 bishops offered their resignation in wake of scandal

13 October 2018

Pope Francis has defrocked two Chilean bishops who are implicated in the South American country’s ever-worsening sexual abuse crisis, the Vatican said on Saturday.

The Vatican named the first man as Francisco Jose Cox Huneeus, 84, who was archbishop emeritus of the city of La Serena – capital of the northern Coquimbo Region.

The second was Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, 53, who was archbishop emeritus of Iquique – capital of both the Iquique Province and Tarapacá Region.

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 have been expelled from the priesthood. It is the harshest punishment the Church can inflict on a member of the clergy and such action has rarely been taken against bishops.

Last month Pope Francis ordered the defrocking of Chilean Reverend Cristian Precht Bañados, 77, a man accused of sexually abusing minors and who had already been suspended from priestly duties in 2012.

Francis then defrocked Father Fernando Karadima, an 88-year-old Chilean priest who was accused of sexually abusing teenage boys over a period of many years.

Chile has been hit by one of the worst sexual abuse crises in the Catholic Church, a scandal that prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope last May. He has so far accepted seven.

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