Pope Francis demotes 2 cardinals named in sexual abuse cases

One cardinal is accused of covering up sexual abuse. The other faces criminal charges in Australia.

  • The cardinals have been removed from the pope's C-9 cabinet, an informal group designed to help restructure the bureaucracy of the Vatican.
  • The cardinals have not been removed from the church.
  • In February, the Vatican will host a conference to inform church leaders about the impacts of sexual abuse.

Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his informal cabinet after they were implicated in high-profile sexual abuse scandals, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

In letters written in October, Francis thanked Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz and Australian Cardinal George Pell for their five years of service on the so-called Group of Nine, or C-9, which Francis founded in 2013 to help restructure the bureaucracy of the Vatican.

Errazuriz, 85, retired as Santiago archbishop in 2010 and is currently being sued in Chilean civil court by victims of sexual abuse for his alleged role in helping cover up assaults committed by recently defrocked priest Fernando Karadima. The cardinal voluntarily removed himself from the C-9 group in November.

Pell faces criminal charges in Australia for sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in the 1990s and 1970s. He denies the accusations. The 77-year-old cardinal is technically still the Vatican's economy secretariat, a powerful position, though he's not allowed to leave Australia and has reportedly taken an indefinite leave of absence to handle his legal issues.

The Vatican didn't mention accusations of sexual abuse when it announced the demotions.

A near mass-resignation in Chile

In May, Chile's long-standing sexual abuse scandal prompted all of the country's 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope, who's so far accepted seven. It was an unprecedented offering and recognition of wrongdoing by church officials.

However, just months earlier, Francis had angered victims in Chile by dismissing accusations that a high-profile bishop, Juan Barros, had covered up sexual abuse committed by the infamous priest Fernando Karadima.

"The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. There is not a single piece of evidence against him," the pope told a reporter while still in Chile. "It is all slander. Is that clear?"

But Francis later doubled back on his comments after ordering an investigation into the situation, saying he felt "shame" for his "grave errors in judgment." Barros resigned in June. In a leaked Vatican report, Pope Francis criticized the Chilean clergy for failing to protect children or investigate abuse.

A landmark conference in February

In February, the Vatican will host the world's church leaders for a conference to address widespread sexual abuse.

A Vatican spokesperson said: "Pope Francis wants church leaders to have a full understanding of the devastating impact that clerical sexual abuse has on victim."

The Danish shoot down Trump's plan to buy Greenland, call the idea 'absurd'

The bid to buy Greenland is unlikely to become seriously considered.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Greenland and Danish officials alike think the idea is ridiculous.
  • The island is an autonomous state, and it's unlikely the Danish would sell it because of yearly subsidies costs.
  • After hearing the Danish Prime Minister call the idea absurd, Trump cancelled their forthcoming meeting.
Keep reading Show less

The 5 most intelligent video games and why you should play them

Some games are just for fun, others are for thought provoking statements on life, the universe, and everything.

(Photo from Flickr)
Culture & Religion
  • Video games are often dismissed as fun distractions, but some of them dive into deep issues.
  • Through their interactive play elements, these games approach big issues intelligently and leave you both entertained and enlightened.
  • These five games are certainly not the only games that cover these topics or do so well, but are a great starting point for somebody who wants to play something thought provoking.
Keep reading Show less

Study: Selfies are perceived far more negatively than ‘posies’

In a new study, people who posted a lot of selfies were generally viewed as less likeable and more lonely.

Kim Kardashian/Instagram
Surprising Science
  • A new study examined how people perceive others' Instagram accounts, and whether those perceptions match up with how the posters rate their own personalities.
  • The results show that people react far more positively to "posies," which are photos of the poster taken by another person.
  • Still, it remains unclear exactly why people view selfies relatively negatively.
Keep reading Show less