VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a fierce ultra-conservative critic of Pope Francis, has been found guilty of schism and excommunicated, the Vatican’s doctrinal office said in a statement on Friday.

Vigano, the papal envoy in Washington from 2011-2016, went into hiding in 2018 after alleging that the pope knew for years about sexual misconduct by an American cardinal and did nothing about it.

He said the pope should resign and subsequently branded him a “false prophet” and a “servant of Satan”.

The Vatican rejected the accusation of a cover-up of sexual misconduct and last month summoned Vigano to answer charges of schism and denying the pope’s legitimacy.

In a brief statement on Friday, the doctrinal office said his refusal to recognize and submit to Pope Francis was clear from his public statements.

“At the conclusion of the penal process, the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Vigano was found guilty of the reserved delict (violation of the law) of schism,” the statement said, adding that he had been excommunicated, or banished, from the Church.

In a statement issued last week, Vigano said he had refused to take part in the disciplinary proceedings because he did not accept the legitimacy of the institutions behind it.

“I do not recognize the authority of the tribunal that claims to judge me, nor of its Prefect, nor of the one who appointed him,” he said, referring to the head of the doctrinal office, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, and to Francis.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini and Crispian Balmer, editing by Gavin Jones)

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