Pope accepts resignation of three Chilean bishops in sex abuse scandal

12 June, 2018, 20:44 | Author: Myra Gill
  • People watch Pope Francis as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday

But the Pontiff himself became mired in the scandal when, during a trip to Chile in January, he defended Barros who was accused of covering up Karadima's wrongdoing.

Barros was accused by the victims of having witnessed the abuse but did nothing to stop it. Barros has however denied the allegations.

The Vatican's announcement comes after an unprecedented move by all of Chile's 34 bishops, who recently offered to resign en masse after attending a crisis meeting with the pope over allegations of a cover-up of sexual abuse in the South American nation.

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

Besides 61-year-old Barros, the pope also agreed to the departures of Cristian Caro Cordero, bishop of Puerto Montt, and Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortazar, bishop of Valparaiso, who had both reached the normal retirement age of 75.

Acknowledging that the pope's program "is very tight", Martin added, "We will find a way in which the pope will be able to address the concerns of all of those people", he said.

Last month Francis promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" in a short declaration to the bishops that was made public.

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.


Juan Carlos Cruz, the abuse survivor who denounced Barros for years and pressed for the Vatican to take action, tweeted: "A new day has begun in Chile's Catholic Church!" "The band of delinquent bishops. begins to disintegrate today". But so far, the pope has accepted only three resignations.

Despite a strong Catholic tradition, Chile is witnessing a growing rift between the people and the Church, sharpened by the string of sexual abuse scandals.

In 2011, the Vatican sentenced Karadima, a powerful preacher close to Chile's elite, to a lifetime of penance and prayer for his sex crimes.

"We hope this is the beginning of the end of this culture of abuse and cover up in the Church".

The June 11 communique from the Vatican said that Bishop Jorge Enrique Conchua Cayuqueo, a Franciscan and auxiliary bishop of Santiago, will now also serve as apostolic administrator for the Osorno diocese.

Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s. To date, 14 priests in Rancagua have been suspended and the bishop resigned as head of the commission after admitting he was slow to act on accusations that a minor had been abused.

Pope Francis has said that he made "grave mistakes" by originally defending Bishop Barros.

"Bishop Barros has ceased being bishop but he hasn't stopped being a brother in the faith, and for this if he too wants to seek forgiveness he is called to take part and assume his responsibilities", Claret said.

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