Three prelates removed from Council of Cardinals
December 12, 2018
Three cardinals have been removed from the Council of Cardinals, with Pope Francis writing to each prelate to thank him for his 5-year term of service on the top advisory body.
Two of the three cardinals who will no longer serve on the Council of Cardinals have been implicated in sex-abuse complaints. The third is well beyond retirement age.
The three are:
- Cardinal George Pell, who has been away from Rome for months, on a leave of absence from his role as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, while facing criminal charges in his native Australia. Cardinal Pell has repeatedly and adamantly insisted that he is innocent of the charges. The Vatican had indicated that Pope Francis would not take action until the Australian court case had run its course. The announcement that Cardinal Pell has been removed from the body lends credence to unconfirmed reports that Cardinal Pell has been found guilty after a secret trial.
- Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, the retired Archbishop of Santiago. Cardinal Errazuriz currently faces questions from Chilean prosecutors because of complaints that he covered up evidence of sexual abuse. Although well past retirement age—he is now 85—Cardinal Errazuriz had been retained on the papal advisory board in spite of the allegations, although he had not attended the most recent meetings.
- Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, who resigned in November from his post as Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the age of 79. The African cardinal has not been implicated in the abuse scandal, and his removal from the Council of Cardinals is apparently due simply to his retirement.
The Vatican announcement of the prelates’ departures came as the Council of Cardinals completed a three-day series of meetings. This was the 27th meeting of the Council, which is working to prepare a document restructuring the Roman Curia.
There are now six members of the Council of Cardinals: Cardinals Oscar Maradiaga Rodriguez, Pietro Marolin, Sean O’Malley, Reinhard Marx, Giuseppe Bertello, and Oswald Gracias. The Vatican has not made any announcement about replacing the outgoing members.
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