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Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal

12 June 2018

Barros, 61, has been at the centre of Chile's growing scandal ever since Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno in 2015 over the objections of the local faithful, his own sex abuse prevention advisers and some of Chile's other bishops.

Karadima's victims have long accused Barros of knowing about the abuse but saying and doing nothing about it. Bishop Barros denies any wrongdoing.

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

In a statement Monday, Barros asked forgiveness "for my limitations and what I couldn't handle".

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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". But they warned that more resignations and actions must follow to heal he devastation wrought by the scandal.

"The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk". "The band of criminal bishops. begins to disintegrate today". But victims had accused both of having botched cases in the past.

But days after returning to Rome, a chastened pope, citing new information, sent sexual abuse investigator Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to Chile to speak to victims, witnesses and other church members. All the Chilean bishops offered their resignations to the Pope in response to their handling of the crisis.

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.

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He has since received two groups of Karadima's victims at the Vatican. But the Scicluna-Bertomeu report exposed a far bigger scandal that has implicated several religious orders, including priests and brothers in the Franciscans, Legion of Christ, Marist Brothers and Salesian orders.

He produced a 2,300-page report which accused Chile's bishops of "grave negligence" in investigating allegations that children had been abused and said evidence of sex crimes had been destroyed.

Pope Francis last month promised to 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.

The Pope named apostolic administrators to run each diocese in the meantime: Mercedarian Father Ricardo Basilio Morales Galindo, Chilean provincial, for the Archdiocese of Puerto Montt; Auxiliary Bishop Pedro Ossandon Buljevic of Santiago for the Diocese of Valparaiso; and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Concha Cayuqueo of Santiago for the Diocese of Osorno. 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.

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Claret said Barros' exit was the "minimum condition" to begin a dialogue with the Vatican to try to rebuild peace in the diocese. At the time he said that allegations against the bishop amounted to "slander".

Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal