Pope Removes Cardinals Pell, Errazuriz Over Child Sexual Abuse

Cardinal George Pell. AFP

Pope Francis has removed two prominent cardinals from his inner circle months after they were accused of sexually abusing choir boys in the late 90s.

Australian Cardinal George Pell and Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz were both removed from the so-called C9 Council of Cardinals, an international advice body set up by the Pope himself, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

The last time the C9 met in September, Errazuriz, who is accused of ignoring reports of abuse in Chile, and Pell, who faces charges in Australia related to historical child sexual offences, were both absent, and the council said it was considering restructuring.

Despite being removed from the C9, Pell who was convicted of child sexual abuse, remains in charge of Vatican finances, the third most powerful position in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church has been hit by a series of child abuse scandals in recent years, with widespread allegations of cover-ups, including against the pope himself.

The pope clarified the composition of the C9 ahead of a February meeting with leaders of bishops’ conferences from around the world dealing with the “protection of minors”, to which victims of priest sex abuse have been invited.

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