Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati. Photo: VLADIMIR RODAS/Getty Images

As Chile's Catholic Church is entangled in a sprawling sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis authorized the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati as archbishop of Santiago, per a Vatican statement released on Saturday, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Ezzati, 77, was the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile. Despite abdicating his position, he can maintain his cardinal title. His resignation brought the total to 8 bishops who have stepped down since 34 Chilean bishops collectively withdrew during an emergency meeting with the pope in May 2018 amid a cover-up probe. Also last year, 2 other Chilean bishops were defrocked in response to accusations that they molested children. Per Reuters, investigations have followed 120 allegations of sexual abuse or cover-ups involving 167 Chilean Church officials or workers.

What's next: Ezzati has been indicted on several charges of cover up, including some involving the case of Oscar Munoz, once a top aide to the Santiago Archbishopric, who will stand trial for charges of abuse and rape of at least 5 children. The Vatican announced the pope named Bishop Celestino Aós Braco as “apostolic administrator” to lead the Santiago archdiocese until a new archbishop is named.

Go deeper: Almost 400 Catholic priests, staff in Illinois accused of child abuse

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 20,014,574 — Total deaths: 734,755 — Total recoveries — 12,222,744Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 5,089,416 — Total deaths: 163,425 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."