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Sex abuse: Pope accepts resignation of 3 Chilean bishops
13 June 2018, 04:39 | Erica Roy
Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal
Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of three Chilean bishops, including the cleric accused of failing to stop a pedophile priest decades ago.
"Holy Father, it's bad enough that we suffered such tremendous pain and anguish from the sexual and psychological abuse, but the awful mistreatment we received from our pastors is nearly worse", the victim wrote.
A Vatican statement said Francis had accepted the resignations of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt.
Church administrators were appointed to run all three diocese.
In an unprecedented move, all 34 Chilean 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's archdioceses.
Francis also called temporary leaders for each of the dioceses.
The appointment of Barros, who had previously been a bishop leading the Military Ordinariate, was met with public outcry with the new bishop having to battle through crowds of protesters during his installation ceremony.
The scandal and fury over the bishop cast a dark shadow over Francis' visit to Chile earlier this year: At least five churches were attacked in Santiago - some with firebombs - and a death threat was made against the pope.
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. He thanked the pope for his concern for the common good and said he prayed "that one day all the truth will shine". The problem of abuse in the country, it was clear to him, went far beyond just the case of Bishop Barros.
He later apologised to victims, following criticism from Cardinal Sean O'Malley, a Vatican pointman on clerical sex abuse.
Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for a group of lay Catholics in Osorno who fought for Barros' removal from office, said it was a "minimum condition" that they had sought from the pope. The victim, Juan Carlos Cruz, described the abuse by Reverend Fernando Karadima; abuse Bishop Barros - who the Pope has repeatedly and publicly defended - and others witnessed, ignored, and covered up.
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.
It is not yet known how many, if any, more of Chile's bishops will depart from office.
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