Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his inner circle of advisers over the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church - including his economy minister, one of the most powerful posts in the Vatican. George Pell faces trial over historical child sexual offenses in his native Australia. He appears to still be a minister, even as he's removed as adviser. The Vatican has now confirmed that Pell is taking indefinite leave to defend himself from prosecution. He denies the charges. The other cardinal to depart the pope's circle is linked to Chile's abuse scandal. Francisco Javier Errazuriz is accused by survivors of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases, which he also denies. Chile's sex abuse scandal was on such a scale that all 34 bishops in the country offered to resign. The pope has accepted seven of those resignations so far. He has no plans yet to appoint new advisors.
Pope Francis has shaken up the Vatican in his Sunday (20 May) address. In a suprise announcement the Pontiff said he would promote 14 churchman from five continents to the rank of cardinal. Putting his stamp on the group that will elect his successor. His candidates work with the poor or are from countries where Catholics are a minority, such as Japan, Iraq and Pakistan. Appointing new cardinals is one of the Pope's most significant powers, allowing him to steer the future of the 1.2 billion member Catholic Church. Cardinals are his closest advisers and can only enter the closed-door conclave if they are under 80 years old. Some conservatives say the Argentinian is destroying the Church with his liberal theology and lambast Francis for being too lenient on divorce, gay rights and migrants. The process known as a consistory would happen on June 29. After that ceremony, Pope Francis will have named 74 cardinals since being elected in 2013.
Thousands of high school students take to the streets in Marseille, as more and more join students protest against education reforms affecting university admission.
Several hundred high school students are joined by university students at the Place Saint Michel in Paris to protest education reforms, including changes to crucial end-of-high school exams and access to higher education.
The Roman Catholic Church is now in total opposition to capital punishment, a change that reverses centuries of Vatican doctrine. The announcement from the Vatican cites an address by Pope Francis. In it he says the death penalty was an attack on, quote, the "dignity of the person." The Church previously allowed the practice under extreme circumstances, but that began to change in the late 1990s. The pope at the time, the late John Paul II, said it went against the sacredness of all human life. Francis has voiced similar views during his time in the papacy. Thursday's (August 2) move is likely going to run into opposition from some Catholics in places where capital punishment is legal, such as areas of the United States.
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