Pope defrocks 2 Chilean bishops
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis Saturday defrocked two more Chilean bishops accused of sexually abusing minors, and to show greater transparency about how he’s responding to the church’s global sex abuse crisis, he publicly explained why they were removed.
The Vatican’s unusually detailed statement announcing the laicization of retired archbishop Francisco Jose Cox Huneeus and retired bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez signalled a new degree of transparency following past missteps by Francis that showed he had grossly underestimated the gravity of the abuse scandal.
The statement said the two were defrocked for abusing minors with evidence so overwhelming that a canonical trial was unnecessary.
The Vatican said the decision can’t be appealed.
Cox, 87 and suffering from dementia, is a member of the Schoenstatt religious order and had served as a bishop in Chillan, Chile, before becoming the No. 2 official at the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, a high-profile position during St. John Paul II’s papacy.
He returned to Chile and became bishop in La Serena until he left in 1997 under unclear circumstances.
Ordenes Fernandez, 53, for his part, was made bishop of Iquique, in northern Chile, in 2006 at the young age of 42.
He retired six years later allegedly for health reasons.
But subsequently allegations of abuse were levelled against him.