Pope Francis has expelled two retired Chilean bishops from the priesthood after the Vatican ruled they had abused children.
The bishops are: Archbishop Emeritus of La Serena, Francisco José Cox, 84, a Schönstatt father, and Bishop Emeritus of Iquique, Marco Antonio Ordenes, 53.
The Holy See said the actions against them were a “consequence of acts of abuse of minors”, and there would be no possibility of appeal.
The dismissal of a bishop from the clerical state is an unusual move, and has not been seen in more than six years when Raymond Lahey, the former Bishop of Antigonish, Canada was acted against for possessing child pornography.
The ruling, the Vatican explained, was made by the Pope on 11 October. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the body which handles cases of priests accused of abuse – has notified all parties.
News of the action was released on Saturday, 13 October, shortly after the Pope held a 32-minute audience with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, where the pair discussed “the painful scourge of abuse of minors” and how to “combat and prevent the perpetration of such crimes and their concealment”.
The Chilean sexual abuse scandal has gripped the country with prosecutors raiding the offices of dioceses, a flood of civil actions have been lodged against the Church, and seven bishops have resigned.