The catholic church is struggling to cleanse the priesthood of the elements that had smeared its name over the past decade.

Several top priests in the church have already resigned for not doing enough to prevent their priests from abusing minors.

But beyond resignation, the pope has now had to let some bishops out of the priesthood due to their roles in the abuse scandal.

On Saturday, Pope Francis continued the purging by stripping two Chilean bishops of their duties as priests.

The priests were linked to the sexual abuse of minors.

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They are Francisco José Cox Huneeus, archbishop emeritus of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, archbishop emeritus of Iquique.

The Vatican issued a statement on their defrocking after a meeting between the pontiff and the president of Chile.

The decision could not be appealed against, it said on Saturday.

The BBC reports that it was announced as Pope Francis met Chile's President Sebastian Piñera in the Vatican, where the two spoke particularly about "the painful scourge of abuse of minors".

More than 100 Catholic clergy are being investigated in Chile over alleged sex crimes and attempts to cover them up.

All 34 of Chile's bishops offered their resignations to the Pope in May over the scandal. The pontiff accepted three resignations in June.

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