Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Pope accepts resignation of 3 Chilean bishops in sex abuse scandal

Pope accepts resignation of 3 Chilean bishops in sex abuse scandal

Jaime Coiro, general secretary of the Chilean Catholic Church, noted that the pope has said the case will require short-, medium- and long-term measures, which could include accepting the resignations of more bishops.

The mass resignation of an entire delegation of bishops is nearly unheard of, having last happened two centuries ago.

Those findings, which leaked to the media while the Chilean bishops were at the Vatican, have opened a Pandora's Box of new accusations that led Francis to become the first pope to refer to a "culture of abuse and coverup" in the Catholic Church.

Argentine-born Francis, whose decision was announced in a Vatican statement Monday, has said it must not happen again on his watch.

Karadima was suspended for life by the Vatican over the allegations of child molestation.

George Weigel says that US Catholics belong to "the most vibrant local Church in the developed world".

As BBC notes, it remains unclear whether the resignation of the remaining 31 bishops will be accepted, but, in any case, it seems that Pope Francis has succumbed to the pressure, in spite of the fact that he had initially defended Bishop Juan Barros during his visit to Chile in January this year. Both men are 75, the age when bishops normally retire.

After receiving their initial report, Pope Francis apologised for making "serious mistakes" while admitting to having received "untruthful and unbalanced information".

In an unprecedented move, all Chile's 34 bishops offered to resign en masse last month after attending a crisis meeting with the pope over allegations of a cover-up of sexual abuse in the South American nation.

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The Pope's move comes after he received two groups of victims of Fernando Karadima at the Vatican.

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According to the report, the church administrators were appointed to run all three diocese.

The letter - handed to the bishops at the start of their meetings with Francis - evokes "crimes" and "painful and shameful sexual abuse of minors, abuses of power and conscience by ministers of the Church".

"Holy Father, it's bad enough that we suffered such tremendous pain and anguish from the sexual and psychological abuse, but the awful mistreatment we received from our pastors is nearly worse", the victim wrote.

"He (the pope) said, "I was part of the problem, I caused this", Cruz added.

They questioned Barros' suitability to lead given he had been a top lieutenant of Chile's most notorious predator priest and had been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse by that priest.

Those two investigators, Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, are heading back to Chile tomorrow to begin what the Vatican has said is a "healing" mission to Osorno.

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