Abuse claim cardinals lose place in the Pope's inner circle
Two leading cardinals allegedly linked to sexual abuse have been dismissed from Pope Francis's inner circle.
Australian Cardinal George Pell and Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz have been removed from the so-called C9 Council of Cardinals, an advisory body set up by Francis.
Cardinal Pell, appointed head of the Vatican's economic secretariat by the pontiff in 2014, has taken a leave of absence to fight allegations of historic sexual misconduct in Australia.
He is still officially in charge of Vatican finances, considered one of the most powerful in the Catholic hierarchy.
Cardinal Errazuriz Ossa has been accused of covering up allegations against abusive priests in Chile.
Congolese Laurent Monsengwo (79), who retired as archbishop of Kinshasa in November, is also leaving the advisory council.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke announced the departures, saying Pope Francis had written to them individually in October, "thanking them for the work they have done for the past five years".
Mr Burke said the Pope had reflected on "the work, structure and composition" of the council.
Cardinal Errazuriz, long considered a close papal ally, was archbishop of Santiago from 1998-2010.
He has come under fire amid claims he hid the crimes of Chile's allegedly abusive priests including Fernando Karadima, who has been accused of a string of child sex offences going back to 1984.
Cardinal Pell (77), former archbishop of Sydney, has consistently denied allegations of sexual abuse made against him.