Pope Francis has defrocked two Chilean bishops accused of molesting minors, as he tries to tackle the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals around the world.
The Vatican said on Saturday that Francisco Jose Cox Huneeus, 84, the former archbishop emeritus of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, 53, who was archbishop emeritus of Iquique, were expelled from the priesthood following local and Vatican investigations.
Defrocking, officially called being “reduced to the lay state”, is the harshest punishment the Church can inflict on a member of the clergy and such action has rarely been taken against bishops.
It comes as the Church faces sexual abuse crises in Chile and a host of other countries, including the United States, Germany and Australia.
The move prompted speculation that it could be a harbinger of action against other prelates, perhaps including Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, DC.
McCarrick lost his title of cardinal in July after a US Church investigation found “credible and substantiated” allegations that he abused a minor decades ago.
He denies wrongdoing.
The pope ordered McCarrick, once of the US Church’s most prestigious figures, to go into seclusion and live a life of prayer. But he is still an archbishop and priest, pending a Vatican investigation.
Last month Francis defrocked Father Fernando Karadima, an 88-year-old Chilean priest who was accused of sexually abusing teenage boys over many years.
Chile’s scandal prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope last May.
He has so far accepted seven.
Cox and Ordenes were not among the 34 because, although they still had the clerical rank of bishop before Saturday, they were no longer running dioceses.
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Pope Urges Calm In Protest-Hit Ecuador
Pope Francis on Sunday called on all sides to refrain from violence in Ecuador, which has been rocked by nationwide protests against rising fuel and living costs.
“I am following with concern what is happening in Ecuador,” the Argentine pontiff said after his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican.
“I encourage all parties to abandon violence and extreme positions. Let us learn — only through dialogue can social peace be found, I hope soon.”
The 85-year-old urged particular attention to be paid to “the marginalised populations and the poorest, but always respecting the rights of all, and the institutions of the country”.
Ecuador’s National Assembly is due to vote on whether to oust President Guillermo Lasso over the protests that have left five people dead and dozens injured in 13 days of revolt.
Pope Francis also highlighted the death of sister Luisa Dell’Orto, an Italian missionary who he said was killed on Saturday in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
“Sister Lucia (Luisa) lived there for 20 years, dedicated above all to the service of street children,” he said.
“I entrust her soul to God and pray for the Haitian people, especially for the youngest, so they may have a more peaceful future without misery, and without violence.
“Sister Lucia made her life a gift for others, to the point of martyrdom.”
Finally, the pope urged those listening not to forget the war in Ukraine.
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War: Ukraine Will Be Coerced To Make ‘Bad Peace’ With Russia – UK
The United Kingdom has expressed fears that Ukraine will be coerced to make a ‘bad peace’ with Russia.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said Ukraine could face pressure to agree to a peace deal with Russia over the global food crisis.
According to him, Volodymyr Zelensky’s side will enter a peace deal that will not be in the interests of his country as a result of the economic consequences of the ongoing war in Europe.
The British Prime Minister is in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, with leaders of Commonwealth nations for a summit
He told reporters, according to BBC, that “Too many countries are saying this is a European war that is unnecessary … and so the pressure will grow to encourage, coerce, maybe, the Ukrainians to a bad peace.”
The UK Prime Minister then warned that there would be consequences if Russian President Vladimir Putin has his way in Ukraine.
Johnson noted that this would be dangerous to international security and “a long-term economic disaster”.
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Obama Rues U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision To Overturn Roe v Wade Abortion Rights
Former American President Barrack Obama says the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling “reverses 50 years precedent, attacking the essential freedoms of Americans.”
“Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans,” Mr Obama said in a tweet.
On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), a U.S. Supreme Court judgment that ruled that United States Constitution protects pregnant women’ liberty to decide to have an abortion.
Justice Samuel Alito on Friday wrote the majority opinion that tossed out the case. Mr Alito was joined by the five other conservatives on the high court, including Chief Justice John Roberts.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the opinion said.
The case was met with a 6-3 decision, with the court’s three liberal justices filing a dissenting opinion to the ruling.
The decision has been widely anticipated after a draft of the ruling was exclusively reported by Politico in May.
Following the leak, Oklahoma passed a near-total ban on all abortions, starting “at fertilization” pending the signature of Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, it would be the most restrictive abortion ban in the U.S.
President Joe Biden had urged Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, saying a woman’s right to have an abortion is “fundamental.”
“If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mr Biden said in May.
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