The catholic church has eventually started taking definitive action on priest with sexual abuse records.

On Saturday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has dismissed from the priesthood a former US archbishop and cardinal Theodore McCarrick after he was found guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult trainee priests in the early 90s.

The 88-year-old McCarrick was one of the prominent figures in the church. He was defrocked just days before an unprecedented global summit of bishops to discuss child sexual abuse is convened by the Vatican.

The Vatican’s move makes McCarrick the most senior figure to be removed from the priesthood in modern times.

He will no longer be permitted to act as a cleric and is forbidden to celebrate the sacraments except to grant absolution for sins to a person close to death. Only excommunication is a more severe punishment.

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Pope Francis has approved the action as “definitive”, meaning McCarrick will not be allowed to appeal, the Vatican said on Saturday.

An earlier Vatican hearing had found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power” and ordered his “dismissal from the clerical state”.

McCarrick, who retired as archbishop of Washington DC in 2006, was forced to resign as a cardinal last July after a man publicly alleged that he had been sexually abused by the cleric from 1971, when he was a 16-year-old altar boy in New York.

McCarrick denied the claims, but the archdiocese of New York found the allegation “credible and substantiated” and turned the case over to the Vatican for investigation.

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