Chilean hero expelled from priesthood over sex abuse charges


September 16, 2018

By Inés San Martín

A priest who was once a national hero in Chile, and who now finds himself another casualty of that country’s massive clerical sexual abuse crisis, has been expelled from the priesthood by Pope Francis after being found guilty of abusing minors and vulnerable adults.

The Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile released a statement on Saturday saying that Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had notified the Chilean Church that on Sept. 12 Francis had decreed, “with no possibility of appeal,” the “removal from clerical state ‘ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae’” of Father Cristián Precht Bañados.

Precht, who rose to fame in Chile for his defense of human rights during the government of dictator Augusto Pinochet, had already been suspended from ministry from 2012-2017 after the CDF found him guilty of abusing both minors and adults.

The former priest had played a key role during the visit of St. John Paul II to Chile in 1987, serving as the vice-president of the local organizing committee and also as head of liturgies.

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