Pope Francis expelled from the priesthood on Saturday two important bishops Chilean emeritus involved in cases of sexual abuse. It is Monsignor Francisco José Cox and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández. The expulsion of the Church is an exceptional measure and more if it is a high office as a bishop. In less than a month, Francisco has used this provision three times to stop the serious decline of the Chilean Church – he expelled priest Fernando Karadima, condemned for abuses at the end of September. It is part of zero tolerance policy and the cleanliness of the Church in Chile, which began to take shape with the resignation of the bishops en bloc the past may.
Cox, 85, is one of the most obvious examples of the behavior that for many years maintained a good part of the Chilean ecclesial leadership, who looked the other way before the accusations of the victims and closed ranks around the accused, with all kinds of concealment policies and obstacles in the management of complaints against members of the clergy.
In 2002 and before a uncontainable avalanche of accusations of abuse, He was sent to a kind of forced exile, to avoid prosecutions and convictions, to Germany, where he lives since then forced to prayer and penance, under psychiatric care.
His name, which is at the origins of the crisis of the Chilean Church that has exploded this year, has returned to light in recent months, after two victims, Abel Soto and Hernán Godoy, broke their silence. Last year, another man made a similar complaint in Germany, when the religious was already retired. In 2004 another denunciation came to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and a canonical process was opened against him. Although for years he was accused and suspected in Chile, where he came to be described as "a serial pedophile", that was the first time he was prosecuted. When in 1997 John Paul II accepted his resignation as archbishop of La Serena, he referred to mental health problems.
Something similar happened with Marco Antonio Órdenes when he presented his resignation in 2012 as bishop of Iquique. Benedict XVI admitted it, but in that moment the Holy See was limited to informsr that the Pontiff had accepted "due to illness or other serious causes". However, he was suspected of having committed abuses against adolescents and the Vatican had been investigating him for a long time, after receiving a complaint from a young man.
Two days before his resignation, the then bishop had recognized in an interview with the Chilean newspaper Third that he had had "reckless" behavior with the young man who denounced him, although he denied that he was a minor at the time when the events occurred.
The announcement of the expulsion of the bishops came after the meeting in the Vatican between Pope Francisco and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. In a brief statement the Holy See reported that both made reference "in particular to the defense of life and the painful injury of child abuse, underlining the commitment of all in collaboration to combat and prevent the commission of these crimes and its concealment. "
It was a delicate audience. In Chile, the prosecution is investigating more than a hundred bishops, priests and laymen accused of committing or covering up sexual abuse for almost three decades. Recently the Chilean president had accused the Catholic Church of hiding cases of pedophilia. This Saturday, after the meeting with Francisco, he declared that both share the hope "that the Church may live a true rebirth and recover the affection and closeness of the people of God."
One of the victims of abuses by the most combative Chilean clergy, Juan Carlos Cruz, celebrated the Pope's decision: "What a wonder to wake up like that. Two less pedophile bishops, expelled from the priesthood, the criminal Cardinal Errazuriz uncovered with his cover-up. A good day for the survivors of these monsters. Now it's up to the Chilean justice to do something! "He wrote on Twitter.