Ex-archbishop in Chile dies before facing trial for sex abuse


August 14, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina – A former powerful Chilean archbishop removed from the priesthood by Pope in 2018 died Wednesday, without ever facing trial for allegation of sexually abusing minors.

The news of Francisco José Cox’s passing was announced by the Schoenstatt Fathers, his original religious order. He was 86.

Cox was first bishop of Chillan, between 1975 and 1981, and the archbishop of La Serena between 1990 and 1997. In between, he worked at the Vatican’s former Pontifical Council for the Family and in 1987 was tapped to organize the visit of St. John Paul II to Chile, which allowed him to become close to then-Archbishop Angelo Sodano, the papal representative in the country.

To this day, many observers point to Sodano, who would become the Vatican’s Secretary of State during the final years of John Paul’s papacy, as the architect of the abuse crisis that has rocked the Chilean Church.

Cox was 86 when he died early in the morning on Aug. 12, from “respiratory failure and multisystemic failure,” according to the statement by Schoenstatt.

He was buried the same day, with only his four brothers present.

The statement from Schoenstatt Chile notes that in 2018, Pope Francis removed Cox from the priesthood, after an investigation conducted by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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