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Pope removes 2 scandal struck cardinals from advisory council

Pope removes 2 scandal struck cardinals from advisory council

Vatican City: Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his small council of advisors who were the subject of allegations relating to sexual abuse or covering it up, the Vatican said in a statement.

Cardinal George Pell, 77, of Australia and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, 85, of Chile were removed from the council that Francis established in 2013, shortly after ascending to the papacy, CNN quoted the statement as saying on Wednesday.

A third, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, 79, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was also removed but due to his advanced age.

Pell was charged in his home country with multiple historical sexual assault offences in June.

He is the most senior member of the Catholic Church in Australia but was placed on leave from the Vatican while the allegations were being investigated.

Pell has said that he was innocent and maintains that the charges, related to claims of sexual abuse spanning three decades, were false.

Errazuriz is being investigated by Chilean prosecutors on allegations that he did not act on reports of clergy abuse while he was archbishop of Santiago.

He has also denied the allegations, CNN reported.

Errazuriz announced in November that he was leaving the council. At the time, he said that his term on the council had ended.

Pell and Errazuriz were original members of Francis' council, which first included eight cardinals and convened to explore ways to reform the Catholic Church.

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