Saturday, October 01, 2022

World-famous priest from Lebanon defrocked for abusing children

 Monsignor Labaki's Family Urges Christian Interference with Vatican, Appeal  in Sexual Abuse Case — Naharnet

Father Mansour Labaky, a well-known Maronite priest from Lebanon who advocated peace for his war-torn country and set up homes abroad for its orphans, has been dismissed from the clerical state because of longstanding charges of sexual abuse.

The Assembly of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon announced on Tuesday that Pope Francis personally signed the decree of dismissal, which was issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Another priest, Georges Badr, was also defrocked, although it was initially unclear why.

“We pray for the victims of sexual abuse and for our brothers Georges and Mansour, that this decision may be their salvation,” the APECL statement said.

Labaki had been found guilty in France on two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault against three girls.

But it’s unclear if he will ever face justice, despite Interpol issuing an international arrest warrant in 2016.

He was once known as a priest who was also an author and had run an orphanage in Normandy, France.

French authorities first began investigating Labaki in 2012 amid allegations he had abused children at the orphanage in the 1990s.

The Vatican also began a probe at a similar time, sentencing him to a life of prayer and solitude in a monastery, and banning him from practising as a priest — without formally defrocking him.

At his trial, French prosecutors condemned Labaki's lack of co-operation and alleged intimidation campaigns against witnesses.

Labaki, who rejects the rulings against him, has been accused by lawyers of abusing dozens of people.

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