Pope Francis defended his decision last month to fire a Catholic bishop in Argentina who was accused of sexually abusing several boys in the 1970s and 1980s, calling it a “good day for the church” and a “reputation for our country.”
The move, which took place days after the pope was elected to his second term, came in the midst of a wave of allegations against church leaders across the globe.
The bishop, a Catholic, was among the bishops who had been accused of molesting or abusing children in recent years, including a New York priest and the former archbishop of Boston.
In a statement, Francis said that his decision “did not involve any new allegations.”
But it did not end a scandal that has rocked the church in Argentina, and raised questions about the Vatican’s handling of sexual abuse cases.
The Argentine Catholic church has long faced accusations of sexual misconduct and cover-ups, with some priests being implicated in crimes such as child prostitution and sexual abuse.
The Vatican has denied the accusations and dismissed the allegations as false.
Argentine news outlets have reported that more than 100 priests and parishioners were accused of sexual assaults and molestation.
A senior Vatican official said last week that the Vatican had suspended all its investigations into the priests.
In recent months, the Vatican has faced mounting pressure to act on the accusations.
Argentina has one of the highest rates of church corruption in the world, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
The scandal has been overshadowed by the ongoing scandal at the Vatican, with Pope Francis leading a commission of bishops to probe whether he mishandled the case of abuse at the hands of a priest who had worked in Argentina’s Vatican during the 1970’s and 80’s.
The church has defended the decision to dismiss the bishop and called it a necessary step.
The pope’s comments came during a meeting with reporters and Vatican officials at the end of a visit to Argentina.
He also gave a press conference in Rome, where he said he hoped that the church would move forward with “a process of healing.”