Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of 3 Chilean Bishops

Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal

Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal

During his visit to Chile in January, Francis upset abuse survivors and their loved ones when he dismissed the allegations against Barros as "calumny", claiming there was no evidence and saying he had never seen proof against the bishop.

In an unprecedented move, all of Chile's 34 bishops offered to resign en masse last month after attending a meeting with the pope over allegations of a cover-up of sexual abuse in the country.

In 2015, Francis appointed Barros as the head of the southern diocese of Osorno despite accusations he had covered up for Karadima. Francis said he had misjudged Barros and the events in Chile because he hadn't been given "truthful and balanced information".

The investigators, Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, are heading back to Chile on Tuesday to begin what the Vatican has said is a "healing" mission to Osorno.

Barros has been accused by victims of witnessing the abuse while Karadima's top protege, a charge he denies.

He also accepted the resignation of Bishop Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar of Valparaiso, naming Bishop Pedro Mario Ossandon Buljevic, auxiliary bishop of Santiago, as apostolic administrator.

The pope accepted the resignations despite his earlier attempts to defend Juan Barros.

"It's a new day for the Catholic Church of Chile!"

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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.

It was not clear if the move meant that the remaining 31 resignations would not be accepted.

An worldwide 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.

The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s.

Francis has apologised to the victims and admitted he had made "grave mistakes" after reading a 2,300-page report on abuses in Chile.

The announcement came in a June 11 communique from the Vatican, along with the resignation of two other Chilean bishops.

Since 2000, about 80 Roman Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

"This is huge not only for the Chilean church but for the entire world", Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean abuse survivor who helped lead a campaign pressuring the Vatican to take action, said in a phone interview, echoing public comments from other victims and church-reform advocates.

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