In a rare move, Pope Francis has defrocked two Chilean bishops accused of sexually abusing minors. The Vatican released a statement Saturday identifying the two bishops as Francisco José Cox Huneeus, who had served as archbishop emeritus of the city of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, the former archbishop emeritus of Iquique. The defrocking, which officially means they have been expelled from the priesthood, was a response to what the Vatican called “manifest abuse of minors.” Cox had reportedly been under investigation by the Vatican in connection with allegations he sexually abused a minor in Germany in 2004. Órdenes had resigned as bishop of Iquique in 2012 during an investigation into allegations he molested an altar boy several years ago. The Vatican’s decision to defrock the pair, which was reportedly made on Thursday, was announced shortly after the pontiff met with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera to discuss the country’s sex abuse scandal. All 34 of Chile’s bishops offered their resignations over the abuse crisis last month, though Pope Francis has so far only accepted seven.
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