Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his informal cabinet after they were implicated in the Catholic Church's sex abuse and cover-up scandal, shedding embarrassing advisers ahead of a high-stakes Vatican summit on abuse early next year.
The Vatican said that Francis in October had written to Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz and Australian Cardinal George Pell thanking them for their five years of service on the so-called Group of Nine, or C-9.
Pell – the third most powerful man in the Catholic Church – was this week found guilty of sexually abusing two boys in the late 1990s. He was unanimously convicted by an Australian jury on Tuesday of sexually abusing two choir boys in the country while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne.
The 77-year-old, often referred to as the Vatican's treasurer, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault and one count of rape after three days of deliberations.
He became the highest Vatican official ever to stand trial for sex abuse as he took the stand for the case, which was conducted under a gag order preventing him from being named in Australia.