The 77-year-old Ezzati had submitted his resignation two years ago when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 [Jorge Loyola/AP]

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile, who has been caught up in the country’s sex abuse scandal.

A Vatican statement on Saturday said the pope had named Bishop Celestino Aos Braco of the Chilean city of Copiapo, as “apostolic administrator” to run the Santiago archdiocese until a new archbishop is named to succeed Ezzati.

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Ezzati, 77, faces multiple charges of covering up cases of abuse, including some relating to the case of Oscar Munoz, a former top aide to the Santiago

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