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Pope Francis removes two cardinals embroiled in sex abuse scandals from advisory council

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In a significant decision, announced today by the Vatican, Pope Francis has terminated the services of three cardinals who for the past five years were members of his council of nine cardinal advisors. Two of them have been embroiled in the sexual abuse of minors scandal in their respective countries—Cardinal George Pell in Australia and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz in Chile—while the third, Cardinal Laurent Monswengo Pasinya of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has almost reached the age of 80 and has not participated in recent meetings.

Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See’s Press office, made the announcement today in a briefing at the end of the 27th meeting of the council of cardinal advisors, which was held at the Vatican over the past three days.

Mr. Burke revealed that at the end of October, Pope Francis sent a letter to all three cardinals thanking them for the work they had done over the past five years as members of his advisory council.

The Chilean cardinal, who was accused of cover-up of abuses and is 85, had already handed in his resignation, while Cardinal Pell is in the midst of a criminal trial in Melbourne, Australia, on charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that is expected to continue into next year.

Asked by the AFP reporter at the briefing whether given his legal situation Cardinal Pell would continue as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Mr. Burke replied, “That’s a good question!” He then stated: “The Holy See has the maximum respect for the Australian judicial authorities. We are aware that there is a provision in force that imposes silence, and we respect that order.”

Source: www.americamagazine.org