The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope's representative in the Caribbean nation.
The former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, 65, is the first papal nuncio known to be removed from the priesthood because of accusations of child sexual abuse. The Vatican announced Friday that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, had recently completed his canonical trial.
He still faces a criminal trial by the Vatican because, as a diplomat, he is a citizen of the Vatican city-state. It would be the first such trial held under new rules for criminal procedures implemented by the Vatican last year and a test of Pope Francis' resolve to turn a page on the long-running sexual abuse scandal.
Francis will meet next week in Rome with abuse survivors from Ireland and other countries — the first time as pope that he will personally hear the testimony of those who have suffered abuse by Roman Catholic priests.
Wesolowski was suddenly recalled to Rome in August after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, traveled to Rome to report the allegations against him. Dominican authorities opened an investigation after the ambassador had left, and they say they forwarded their report to the Vatican. But they said they could not prosecute him there because he was protected by diplomatic immunity.