Chilean legislators vote to strip priest of honorary nationality

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The House of Representatives in Chile has passed a resolution stripping Father John O'Reilly, of the Legion of Christ of his honorary Chilean nationality by a vote of 96-5 after he was sentenced to four years of house arrest for sexual abuse.

The measure will now go before the Chilean Senate for final approval.

The Chilean congress grants honorary nationality to individuals through a legislative action, and can use the same mechanism to rescind it.

The proposal to rescind the Irish-born priest's honorary nationality was brought before the floor of the Congress Nov. 12, after he was sentenced to four years of house arrest for sexually abusing a minor.

The case against Fr. O'Reilly, who has maintained his innocence from the beginning, began July 24, 2012, when a lawyer representing the Cumbres School filed a complaint with the Legionaries of Christ. Fr. O'Reilly turned himself in to authorities, and the school also filed charges with civil authorities.

The following day, the Legionaries opened a canonical investigation into the case.

Before the Legionaries concluded their investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked that the case be turned over to an outside priest, who finished his investigation in September 2013.

While the case is currently under study in Rome, Fr. O'Reilly is not allowed to exercise any public ministry.

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