VATICAN CITY : Pope Francis came under fire from victims groups on Thursday following news that he had quietly sacked the Vatican’s envoy to the Dominican Republic over allegations of paedophilia.

“Like all of his predecessors, Pope Francis is acting belatedly, secretively and recklessly,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “Catholic officials act only when forced to do so by media pressure,” she said in a statement received by AFP. “When they do act, they act secretively - in this case, by not disclosing the allegations, the suspension or the reason for the suspension.”

On August 21 Monsignor Josef Wesolowski, the papal nuncio in Santo Domingo, was sacked without the Vatican sharing the news with the public.

On Wednesday, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told the I.Media news agency on Vatican affairs that an investigation was underway in Rome into allegations of child sex abuse against him.

The Dominican press said the diplomat had sex for money with underage boys in the “Zona colonial”, the historic centre of Santo Domingo.