Pope accepts Chilean bishops' resignation over abuse scandal

Sexual abuse case Pope Francis accepts resignation of three Chilean bishops

Sexual abuse case Pope Francis accepts resignation of three Chilean bishops

Pope Francis accepted Monday (June 11) the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including the controversial Juan Barros, following a child sex abuse scandal in Chile which has come to haunt his papacy.

Scicluna visited Chile in February and prepared a 2,300-page report enumerating "a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that have occurred in the Chilean church in relation to ... unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse", Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos of Santiago said on May 18, when the 33 Chilean bishops offered their resignation en masse to Francis.

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.

The biggest new scandal involved revelations of a gay priest sex ring in the Rancagua diocese of the bishop who headed the Chilean church's sex abuse prevention commission.

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An global family rally the Catholic Church is hosting in Ireland will feature workshops on hot-button issues facing Catholic families, including protecting children from clergy sexual abuse, weathering divorce and ministering to lesbian and gay faithful.

In 2011, Fr Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

They questioned Barros' suitability to lead given he had been a top lieutenant of Chile's most notorious predator priest and had been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse by that priest.

"The resignation of these bishops should not dilute their criminal responsibility", he said.

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The problem of abuse in the country, it was clear to him, went far beyond just the case of Bishop Barros.

Pope Francis initially backed him, refusing to allow Barros to step down from his post and calling accusations against him "calumny" during a visit to Chile in January.

The two investigators will meet Wednesday with Canon law experts from Chilean dioceses who will provide "technical and legal assistance" in order to "provide adequate responses to each case of child sexual abuse committed by clerics or religious", Scicluna told reporters. "Three corrupt bishops are out", said Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima's victims who was received by the pope in May along with two other men the priest had abused. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing. Some of the victims allege that Barros witnessed the abuse.

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. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church accepted Barros's resignation as well as those of two others in Chile.

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"A new day has begun in Chile's Catholic Church!" tweeted Juan Carlos Cruz, the abuse survivor who denounced Barros for years and pressed for the Vatican to take action.

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