Two retired Chilean bishops have been banned from the priesthood after the uncovering of a string of abuse claims against minors. In the announcement last Thursday, Pope Francis explicitly outlined that there is no chance of appeal for the men.
The case refers to 84-year-old bishop Francisco Cox and 53-year-old Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez. It is believed that Cox has been abusing children dating back even before his time as a bishop, and the two men, as a result, were handed down the harshest punishment available by the Catholic church.
The recent exposure of the two bishops comes after years of coverups by the Chilean Catholic church, which is currently undergoing a vast expose into its ranks. However, it has been suggested that both of the recently exposed bishops were had been protected by people within the Catholic church, despite the abuses, until victims came forward.
It was in 2002 that Cox was sent into exile after being protected by the clergy for countless years despite vicious allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. This exile was used to, in fact, protect the bishop from prosecution, however, earlier this year two victims finally came forward and brought the case to light once again. He has been branded a ‘serial paedophile,’ reported El Pais. A similar case appears to have happened with the second bishop, Ordenes Fernandez, who resigned for ‘health reasons’ in 2012 reported the Catholic church, although it is now speculated that this was another cover-up.
The vast sprawl of new sexual abuse allegations within the Catholic church continues to be exposed at a phenomenal pace in what has become a global sexual abuse uncovering. Under the watch of Pope Francis, it appears that the church has taken a firm stance on bringing justice to victims and cleaning the church hierarchies of sexual misconduct and subsequent coverups.
The Vatican investigations into sexual abuse resulted in a 2,300-page report which detailed the specific failings of Chile’s senior church officials into investigating claims of abuse and bring those responsible to justice for decades of improper behaviour.
According to Reuters, almost 20 percent of the country’s Catholic clergymen have been removed from office since the investigation came to light. Chile is joined by countless other countries such as the United States and Germany where claims have arisen against church workers who mishandled their position and abused their power. An accusation from August also suggested that the Pope might have been aware of some of the allegations years prior to the new clampdown.