Three Catholic bishops resign over sex abuse scandal

12 Juin, 2018, 01:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • New claims await pope's sex abuse investigators in Chile

Francis realised he had misjudged the Chilean situation after meeting Cruz and reading the 2300-page report compiled by two leading Vatican investigators about the depth of Chile's scandal, which has devastated the credibility of the church in a once overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country in the Pope's native Latin America.

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis attends a meeting with faithful of the diocese of Rome at Saint John Lateran Basilica in Rome, Italy May 14, 2018.

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.

Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for a group of lay Catholics in Osorno who fought for Barros' removal from office, said it was a "minimum condition" that they had sought from the pope.

Some of the victims have accused Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, a key advisor to Francis, of ignoring and helping to cover up Karadima's abuses. Bishop Barros denies any wrongdoing.

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".

After he returned to the Vatican from that trip, Francis sent the Church's top sex crimes expert to Chile, to investigate further. "The band of delinquent bishops. begins to disintegrate today".

He is 75 years old - the age when a bishop is obliged to offer his resignation to the Pope - as is Bishop Duarte Garcia de Cortazar.

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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.

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.

Barros denied the charge, 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 minimised abuse cases, destroying evidence of sex crimes and pressuring church investigators.

Apart from refusing to talk about sexual abuse Bishop Barros had committed, the Pope - according to his own advisers - received a letter from one of the victims in 2015.

In the statement announcing the resignations, the Vatican explained the Pope has also appointed apostolic administrators to lead the three dioceses in the interim.

The Pope has promised 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. At the time he said that allegations against the bishop amounted to "slander".

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