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, Reuters reported.
The Vatican named the two men as Francisco José Cox Huneeus, 84, who was archbishop emeritus of the city of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, 53, who was 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 (Church) 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.