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Pope Francis Defrocks Chilean Priest Found Guilty Of Sexual Abuse

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Pope Francis Defrocks Chilean Priest Found Guilty Of Sexual Abuse
The pontiff defrocked 88-year-old Rev. Fernando Karadima of Chile, who was found guilty by a Vatican court of sexually abusing minors.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Pope Francis made a move that seems to indicate he's serious about combating clerical sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. 

On Thursday, the pontiff defrocked 88-year-old Rev. Fernando Karadima of Chile, a priest central to an abuse scandal that became public in 2010. That's the most severe penalty for a priest. 

Karadima was originally given a lighter sentence by a Vatican court in 2011. At the time, he was found guilty of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to a lifetime of prayer and penance.

In a statement released Friday, the Vatican said the pope's decision to remove him from the priesthood was made "for the good of the Church." It's not clear what exactly prompted the pope to do this.

Chile's faced recent investigations from the Vatican and authorities into widespread sexual abuse by clergy members. Last week, Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing the total number who've stepped down there to seven. 

The church has signaled it's taking steps toward a tougher stance on the issue, following criticism from some that its response to the crisis hasn't been enough. 

In February, Catholic bishops from around the world will meet at the Vatican to discuss ways to prevent clerical sexual abuse. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN