The Catholic Church has stripped Tulio Soto Manquemilla off his priesthood after an inquiry showed he had committed a number of actions held as offenses according to Canonic Law, it was announced Thursday.
For canonical crimes, the Vatican confirmed the expulsion of the priest Tulio Soto Manquemilla, who was investigated after an audit that revealed serious irregularities in Puerto Montt.
The now former priest of the archdiocese of Puerto Montt,
Manquemilla had been under investigation since 2018 after a series of irregularities came to light. Soto had hired himself to increase his salary and lent Church money to individuals. The transactions were even documented before a notary public, which made auditing easier.
The Archbishop of Puerto Montt, Fernando Ramos, explained the decision had been made for Canonical crimes. Ramos said Soto had ceased to be a priest of the Catholic Church, while all the information regarding his caase had been sent over to prosecutors, who were now to conduct an investigation of their own, which could result in criminal charges under Chilean Law against Soto or others who might have been involved in the schemes.
The Archbishopric of Puerto Montt expresses its commitment to continue working based on the standards and values of the Church, and to continue collaborating, with a self-critical look, in those cases in which these standards and values have been transgressed, thus reflecting the life of the faithful and our communities, Ramos said in a statement.
Canonical crimes are at odds with the priestly ministry, Ramos added.
Soto and former vicar Dario Nicolás are said to have signed self-contracts to justify extra salaries, transferred Archbishopric vehicles without permission, acted as lenders and irregularly handled psychiatric medication from family medical centers in the commune.