Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Bishop Juan Barros Over Chilean Abuse Scandal

Pope Francis attends a meeting with faithful of the diocese of Rome at Saint John Lateran Basilica in Rome Pope Francis attends a meeting with faithful of the diocese of Rome at Saint John Lateran Basilica in Rome
Steven Clarke | 12 June, 2018, 20:40

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three Chilean bishops accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s, BBC reports.

After receiving their 2,300-page report detailing the extent of clergy sexual abuse in Chile, the Pope apologised.

After he returned to the Vatican from that trip, Francis sent the Church's top sex crimes expert to Chile, to investigate further. Joining him is Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse who resigned from O'Malley's panel past year in frustration over the Vatican's resistance to listening to victims.

Victims accused Barros of having witnessed the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. Barros has denied the allegations.

The installation of Juan Barros as bishop of the southern city of Osorno in 2015 met with stiff resistance. Some said more housecleaning now is needed to heal the devastation wrought by the scandal.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean bishop he robustly defended earlier this year despite claims of a cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, a move that later forced the pontiff into making a public apology.

"I told him that Barros was watching us when we were abused, I think that's clear to him now", Juan Carlos Cruz said. "The band of delinquent bishops ... begins to disintegrate today".

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Despite a strong Catholic tradition, Chile is witnessing a growing rift between the people and the Church, deepened by the string of sexual abuse scandals.

Bishop Juan Barros looks on as Pope Francis leaves at the end of a mass at the Lobito beach in Iquique, Chile January 18, 2018.

The Pope's move comes after he received two groups of victims of Fernando Karadima at the Vatican.

It also exposed evidence that the Chilean hierarchy systematically covered up and minimized abuse cases, destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring church investigators to discredit abuse accusations and showing "grave negligence" in protecting children from pedophile priests.

An global 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 June 11 communique from the Vatican said that Bishop Jorge Enrique Conchua Cayuqueo, a Franciscan and auxiliary bishop of Santiago, will now also serve as apostolic administrator for the Osorno diocese. To date, 14 priests in Rancagua have been suspended and the bishop resigned as head of the commission after admitting he was slow to act on accusations that a minor had been abused.

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. He called for a process to find "truth, justice and reparation" for the damage caused.

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