Pope accepts resignation of 3 Chilean bishops in sex abuse scandal

Pope accepts resignation of 3 Chilean bishops in sex abuse scandal

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial figure at the center of Chile's child sex abuse scandal along with two other bishops, according to the Vatican.

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.

Church leaders also announced that Pope Francis would meet representatives of survivors of clerical abuse and residential abuse during the course of his two days in Ireland.

Barros has been at the centre of the growing scandal ever since Pope 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. So far Barros, Caro and Duarte are the first bishops whose resignation Pope Francis has formally accepted. Francis had summoned Chile's church leaders to Rome after realizing he had made "grave errors in judgment" about Barros, whom he had defended strongly during his troubled visit to Chile in January.

The Church said it would name a delegate next Monday to be stationed in Santiago and receive accusations of abuse, part of a new effort to help victims seek quick justice on still-open cases, some of which go back decades.

Barros has denied covering up abuse but on Monday apologized for his "limitations" for handling the scandal.

Barros is accused of protecting pedophile priest Fernando Karadima and ignoring the experiences of victims.

"The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk".

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But by also accepting the resignations of the two other bishops, Francis is making clear that the troubles in Chile's church do not rest on Barros' shoulders alone, or on those of the more than 40 other priests and three other bishops trained by the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Joining him is Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse who resigned from O'Malley's panel previous year in frustration over the Vatican's resistance to listening to victims.

Jaime Coiro, general secretary of the Chilean Catholic Church, noted that the pope has said the case will require short-, medium- and long-term measures, which could include accepting the resignations of more bishops.

Barros submitted his resignation to Pope Francis alongside every other active bishop in Chile at the close of a May 15-17 meeting between the pope and Chilean prelates, during which Francis chastised the bishops for systematic cover-up of abuse throughout the country.

"We can be confident that things will work out well", Bertomeu said.

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.

Maltese archbishop Charles Scicluna and fellow papal envoy Jordi Bertomeu will take witness statements from victims of sexual abuse within the Church and provide instruction to Chilean dioceses to respond adequately to any new complaints.

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

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