Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Pope accepts resignations from bishops in sex abuse scandal

Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal Pope Francis accepts resignation of three Chilean bishops
Deanna Wagner | 12 June, 2018, 01:41

Then, on 18 May, all of Chile's bishops offered to resign after attending their own meeting with the Pope in the Vatican about the cover-up of sexual abuse in the south American nation.

The announcement of Pope Francis's decision to accept the resignation was made in a Vatican statement which named the other two bishops as Cristian Caro Cordero and Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar.

Barros' removal, which had been expected, was praised by abuse survivors and Catholics in Osorno.

They questioned Barros' suitability to lead given he had been a top lieutenant of Chilean paedophile priest Fernando Karadima and had been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.

Of the three, only Barros is below the retirement age of 75.

Cruz, whom the pope hosted at his Vatican residence and met individually along with two other victims, said the pontiff was "contrite" and said he had been "part of the problem".

Last week it was announced they were being sent back to Chile in order to advance the process of "the process of reparation and healing of victims of abuse" in the Diocese of Osorno.

"Today begins a new day for the Catholic Church in Chile and hopefully the world", Juan Carlos Cruz, the key witness in the abuse case, said on Twitter.

"I'm thrilled for all those who have fought to see this day".

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In 2013, Vice released a special report detailing the PR machinery which, so it seems, has managed to turn Pope Francis into a popular, widely-appreciated individual in spite of sexual abuse scandals.

He has since received two groups of Karadima's victims at the Vatican.

The scandal and fury over the bishop cast a dark shadow over Francis' visit to Chile earlier this year: At least five churches were attacked in Santiago - some with firebombs - and a death threat was made against the pope. But the Scicluna-Bertomeu report exposed a far bigger scandal that has implicated several religious orders, including priests and brothers in the Franciscans, the Legion of Christ, the Marist Brothers and the Salesian orders.

He denies the charges, but he joined 30 of Chile's other active bishops in offering their resignations to Francis at an extraordinary Vatican summit last month.

It also exposed evidence that the Chilean hierarchy systematically covered up and minimized abuse cases, destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring church investigators to discredit abuse accusations and showing "grave negligence" in protecting children from pedophile priests.

Church administrators were appointed to run all three diocese.

Bishop Barros was accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time he said that allegations against the bishop amounted to "slander".

Francis has vowed that Chilean Catholics scarred by a culture of clergy sexual abuse that "never again" would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country.