The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis has defrocked two retired Chilean priests as allegations of sex abuse continue to rock the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Emeritus Francisco José Cox Huneeus and Bishop Emeritus Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández were removed "as a consequence of manifest abuse of minors."
The Chilean President recently visited the Vatican City to discuss the crisis facing the Catholic Church with the pope in private. It is reported that agreement was reached on collaboration to combat and prevent sex abuse.
The widespread problem of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Chile has been known for some years. Back in 2011 a Vatican tribunal forced a Chilean priest to retire after he was found guilty of sexually abusing dozens of children, but it was not until last month that he was actually removed from the priesthood.
The way in which the Catholic Church in Chile has handled the sex abuse scandal has prompted fierce criticism, with allegations of widespread cover-ups. This has led to a number of bishops resigning over the role they played in the investigations.
The offices of the Catholic Church around Chile have also been raided by the police as part of ongoing criminal enquiries into the sexual abuse of minors by priests.
The Catholic Church sex abuse scandal is a worldwide issue. A number of high profile cases of sex abuse in the Catholic Church have made the headlines here in the UK, while allegations of sex abuse have also been made in Australia and the United States, as well as other parts of Europe.
Allegations of an extensive cover-up in the state of Pennsylvania have been made that could implicate as many as 300 "predator priests". This has led to calls for further investigations in other US states.
Even the Pope himself has been criticised for his handling of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal and he has admitted to making "serious errors of judgement and perception." Demands have been made by senior members of the church for Pope Francis to stand down.
As the Catholic Church sex scandal escalates eyes are now firmly focussed on the Vatican. The church's hierarchy is under increasing pressure to ensure that a wholly transparent approach is taken to the ongoing investigations and this could result in further priests retiring from the priesthood or being defrocked for their actions.
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