A Vatican tribunal has ordered the laicisation of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, who stands accused of sexual abuse. The action has been proposed following a hearing before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, although the accused has two months to appeal.
The Holy See also announced that the archbishop faces criminal charges in the Vatican courts.
Laicisation means the archbishop can no longer perform priestly duties or present himself as a priest.
Rome recalled Wesolowski on 21 August last year, and relieved him of his job as papal envoy after the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, reported to Pope Francis allegations that Wesolowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic.
Polish-born Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sex abuse. Both Poland and the Dominican Republic have mounted ongoing investigations into the former nuncio. Wesolowski was both ordained a priest and bishop by his Polish countryman and former pope, St. John Paul II.