Vatican News: Holy See Finds Priest Eduardo Córdova Mendoza Guilty of Sexual Abuse

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Father Hans Zollner, the Vatican's Chair of the Steering Committee of the Centre for the Protection of Minors, looks on as he attends a news conference at the Pontificial Gregorian University in Rome February 5 , 2013.

The Vatican has found Mexican priest Eduardo Mendoza Cordova guilty of sexual abuse of minor. Mendoza will officially be retired from the Catholic priesthood, a decree which will be broadcast in the coming hours to the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosí. According to Vatican sources, after reviewing the testimony and evidence, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cleric ordered a "dismissal from the clerical state," a punishment reserved for the most severe cases.

It will now be up to Bishop Carlos Cabrero Jesus Romero to communicate with the sentence to Mendoza and make it known publicly. For this to happen, the Vatican will not need to physically locate the defendant, who is currently on the run. According to canon law, which governs all ecclesiastical processes, the Holy See need only to look for Cordova Mendoza in his latest reported residence. If he does not appear, the sanction shall be deemed notified and automatically come into force.  He also has 60 days to appeal or file an appeal with the Vatican courts.

The sanction "ex officio " (as it is officially called) , did not require the approval of the Pope and was issued after an administrative process in which the priest chose not to defend himself, while the victim contributed enough evidence to convict the accused. On April 23, the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosí  imposed a suspension on the ministerial functions and powers of Cordova Mendoza, at the request of the Vatican itself. This news came only towards the end of May.

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