Pope accepts resignations from bishops in sex abuse scandal

Argentina’s version of Romero declared martyr by Pope Francis

Argentina’s version of Romero declared martyr by Pope Francis

Pope Francis accepted the resignation Monday of the bishop at the center of Chile's clerical sex abuse scandal and two others, launching a purge of a Catholic Church that has lost its credibility under an avalanche of accusations of abuse and cover-up.

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.

The Vatican issued a statement Monday saying the pontiff had accepted the resignation of 61-year-old Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.

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.

Three Chilean Bishops have presented their resignations letters to Pope Francis over allegation of sexual misconduct.

The cases that have drawn the most attention to date involved Father Fernando Karadima, whom a Vatican investigation found guilty in 2011 of abusing teenage boys in Santiago over many years.

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. At the time he said that allegations against the bishop amounted to "slander".

The pope later apologized to victims of Chile's sexual abuse scandal. Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the survivors, explained the Pope not only said sorry but admitted that he, Francis, had personally been "part of the problem".

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.

Last month Francis promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" in a short declaration to the bishops that was made public.

Under Pope Francis, a Vatican committee has been set up to fight sexual abuse and help victims.

Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, Karadima has always denied any wrongdoing.

The pope accepted Barros' resignation despite previous attempts to defend the bishop.

"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.

The announcement came as Pope Francis was sending his Vatican team back to Chile to promote healing from the abuse crisis.

He produced a 2,300-page report which accused Chile's bishops of "grave negligence" in investigating allegations that children had been abused and said evidence of sex crimes had been destroyed.

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