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Pope defrocks two Chilean bishops for sex abuse of minors

AFP  |  Vatican City 

has defrocked two Chilean bishops for the alleged sexual abuse of minors, the Vatican said in a statement on Saturday after a meeting between the pontiff and the of

The decision to expel former and former -- the latest heads to roll in a country hit hard by the abuse scandal -- could not be appealed, it said.

Both were stripped of their priesthood "as a consequence of overt acts of abuse against minors".

Defrocking is considered the harshest penalty for priests within the Church and means the offender is forbidden from exercising any clerical duties at all, even in private.

Scores of new cases of priestly sexual abuse of minors have come to light in Chile, deepening a crisis in the Roman

that has also embroiled

On Saturday, met with Chilean at the Vatican for talks on the "difficult situation" in

They discussed "the painful scourge of abuse of minors, reiterating the effort of all in collaboration to combat and prevent the perpetration of such crimes and their concealment", the Vatican said.

The leaders "shared the hope that the church could live a true rebirth," Pinera said in a statement.

A total of 167 bishops, priests and lay members of the church are now under investigation for sexual crimes committed in the South American country since 1960.

Francis has already apologised repeatedly to Chileans over the scandal, admitting the church failed "to listen and react" to the allegations, but vowed to "restore justice".

In May, the Argentine pontiff accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops amid accusations of abuse and related coverups.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 13 2018. 17:55 IST
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