Pope removes two cardinals hit by sex scandals from group of close advisers

Cardinal George Pell walks to a car in Melbourne on December 11, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Pope removes two cardinals hit by sex scandals from group of close advisers

  • Chile’s sexual abuse scandal prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope who has so far accepted seven

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has removed from his group of close advisers two cardinals hit by sexual abuse scandals, including his economy minister, Australian George Pell, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
Pell has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his job as head of the Secretariat for the Economy, one of the most powerful posts in the Vatican, to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offenses in Australia.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said: “The Holy See has the utmost respect for Australian judiciary. We are aware that a suppression order is in place (on media reporting on judicial procedures) and we intend to respect it.”
Asked if Pell, 77, was still economy minister, Burke suggested he was, saying there had been no announcement to the contrary.
The other member removed from the so called C-9 — a group of nine cardinals that meets periodically with the pope in Rome — is Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Chile.
Errázuriz, 85, the former archbishop of Santiago, has been accused by abuse survivors in Chile of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases, which he denies.
Chile’s sexual abuse scandal prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope who has so far accepted seven.
A third C-9 cardinal, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, 79, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was also leaving the group, Burke told a briefing on the C-9’s latest meeting, which ended on Wednesday. None of the three attended.
Burke said the six remaining members — from Italy, Honduras, the United States, and India, would continue to advise the pope. There were no immediate plans to appoint new members, he said.
The pope told Reuters last June in an interview that he planned to use the five-year anniversary of the C-9 to “to renew it a bit.”


Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine elections after incumbent president Petro Poroshenko concedes defeat

Updated 35 min 9 sec ago
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Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine elections after incumbent president Petro Poroshenko concedes defeat

  • Petro Poroshenko tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag and national identity
  • Zelenskiy is a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies

KIEV: Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday conceded he had been soundly defeated in a run-off vote by comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and would be leaving office next month, but said he did not plan to quit politics altogether.

Ukraine entered uncharted political waters on Sunday after an exit poll showed Zelenskiy, a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies, had easily won enough votes to become the next president of a country at war.

The apparent landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, is a bitter blow for incumbent Petro Poroshenko who tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag by casting himself as a bulwark against Russian aggression and a champion of Ukrainian identity.

Poroshenko said the results were "clear" and a reason to "call my opponent and congratulate him", after exit polls showed the performer taking 73 percent of the vote.

"I will leave office but I want to firmly stress -- I will not quit politics," he added.