Pope Francis has removed from his inner circle two cardinals including the Vatican’s economy minister, Australian George Pell.

Cardinal Pell had already taken an indefinite leave of absence from his job as head of the Secretariat for the Economy, one of the most powerful posts in the Vatican, to defend himself from prosecution in Australia.

The former Archbishop of Sydney, 77, retains his position as economy minister.

But he’s no longer a member of the so-called C-9, a group of nine cardinals that meets periodically with the pope in Rome and which acts as his informal cabinet.

Cardinal Pell had been a member of C-9 for five years before the pope wrote to him and another cardinal, thanking them for their service.

The other cardinal to be excluded is Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Chile.

Errazuriz, 85, the former archbishop of Santiago, has been accused by abuse survivors in Chile of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases, which he denies.


The six remaining members – from Italy, Honduras, the United States, and India – would continue to advise the pope.

There were no immediate plans to appoint new members, the Vatican said.

The Pope appointed the C-9 in 2013 to help him reform the Vatican and reorganise its bureaucracy.

With AAP

Missed Clairsy & Lisa? Catch up by clicking play below!