On September 28, 2018, a Vatican press release confirmed that Pope Francis signed a decree the previous day removing convicted sex offender, Fernando Karadima, from the Roman Catholic Priesthood. Citing Canon 331 of the Code of Canon Law, the Vatican statement said that in making the decision Francis had “exercised his ‘supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church,’ conscious of his service to the people of God as the successor of St. Peter.” The 88-year old Karadima’s laicization went into effect immediately.
Prior to the Pope’s action last Thursday, Karadima was sentenced to a lifetime of prayer and penance following his 2011 conviction for the sexual abuse of minors. Other than a brief reference that “The Holy Father has taken this unusual decision in conscience and for the good of the church,” the Vatican statement was mute as to why Francis made the rare move of defrocking Karadima.
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