Chile's Cristian Precht, convicted of pedophilia, has been stripped of his priestly duties by Pope Francis at The Vatican, it has been reported.
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The Church of Santiago reported that the decision adopted by Pope Francis is unappealable. Antecedents for possible abuses had been sent to Rome, according to La Tercera.
Having played an important role in Chile in the field of human rights, Precht was given the most serious sanction contemplated by the canonical order, according to a Vatican statement issued Saturday.
The information, confirmed on the website of the Archbishopric of Santiago, indicates that it was the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria, who notified the Chilean Church of the decision of Pope Francis' decision.
The statement says the "resignation of the clerical state 'ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae' and the dispensation from all the obligations attached to the sacred ordination of the Rev. Cristián Precht Bañados were decreed.
"The same decree establishes that the bishop communicate the new canonical situation of the affected to the people of God as soon as possible."
Precht was a former head of the Church's Vicariate of Solidarity human rights group that during the 1980s had challenged ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet to end the practice of torture in Chile.
The well-known Chilean religious leader has since been accused of sexual abuse as part of the investigation into allegations against members of the Marist Brothers religious community. Precht has previously denied the charges.
In 2012, Precht was sentenced to a five-year prohibition of publicly exercising the priestly ministry after "abusive behavior with minors and adults" was verified.
Investigations into alleged sexual abusers within the Chilean episcopacy have escalated since police raids in Temuco and Villarrica led to the confiscation of dozens of documents believed to be connected to additional abuse cases in July.