Three bishops fired as Pope tackles sex abuse - and more are expected
14 June, 2018, 00:09 | Author: Sheila Harris
Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who was at the center of Chile's clerical sex abuse scandal, along with two others in a bid to restore the credibility of the Catholic Church in the country amid accusations of multiple cover-ups.
Of the three, only Barros is below the retirement age of 75.
In 2015, Francis appointed Barros as bishop of the diocese of Osorno in southern Chile, despite fierce objections from abuse survivors and others who accused Barros of ignoring reports of alleged sexual misconduct by Father Fernando Karadima.
The entire Chilean delegation of bishops that was called to a meeting with the pope in the Vatican last month resigned.
Pope Francis became involved in the scandal surrounding Juan Barros when he defended the bishop during his visit to Chile in January. Some of the victims allege that Barros witnessed the abuse.
In a statement Monday, Barros asked forgiveness "for my limitations and what I couldn't handle".
Victims accused Barros of having witnessed the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. Barros has denied the allegations.
Last month, he joined the rest of Chile's bishops in offering to step down during an extraordinary Vatican summit.
"The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk".
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"I told him that Barros was watching us when we were abused, I think that's clear to him now", Juan Carlos Cruz said.
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.
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.
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.
His nomination quickly drew criticism from Chilean adherents, some of the country's other bishops and the pope's own sex abuse prevention advisers.
Archbishop Scicluna, who is president of a board of review handling abuse cases within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Fr Bertomeu, an official of the doctrinal congregation, were scheduled to be in Santiago June 12-13 before going to Osorno June 14-17.
By accepting Barros' resignation on the eve of their arrival, Francis is essentially giving Scicluna and Bertomeu a hand in helping to heal the divisions in a diocese where Barros was never fully accepted as bishop. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church accepted Barros's resignation as well as those of two others in Chile.
Father Enrique Opazo, a priest based in the seaside resort of Vina del Mar who has been critical of how the Church handled the crisis in Chile, said it was time for "wholesale" change.
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