Chile sexual abuse scandal: pope accepts resignations of bishops


Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of a Chilean bishop he robustly defended earlier this year despite claims of a cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, a move that later forced the pontiff into making a public apology.

In his continuing efforts to show he has grasped the extent of the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal, and intends to deal with those embroiled in it as perpetrators or colluders, Francis accepted the resignations on Monday of Juan Barros, as well as his fellow bishops Gonzalo Duarte and Cristián Caro. They were among 34 Chilean bishops who offered to resign last month after Francis said the country’s religious hierarchy was collectively responsible for “grave defects” in handling sexual abuse cases and the church’s resulting loss of credibility.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor who has been a vocal critic of Barros and repeatedly called on the Vatican to take action, said: “A new day has begun in Chile’s Catholic church. “I’m thrilled for all those who have fought to see this day. The band of delinquent bishops … begins to disintegrate today.” On Monday, a Vatican statement said Francis had accepted the resignations of the bishops and appointed temporary replacements. In January, the pope caused an outcry when he denounced sexual abuse survivors on a visit to Chile, saying claims Barros was complicit in a cover-up were a “calumny”.(theguardian)…[+]