Chilean bishops offer mass resignation over abuse crisis

Pope Francis with the Chilean bishops at the Vatican last week (Vatican Media)

Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis last week after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal. Source: NCR Online.

“We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said in a statement on behalf of the country’s bishops.

The unprecedented decision was made on Friday, the final day of their meeting with Francis.

Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, secretary-general of the Chilean bishops’ conference, said the Pope had read to the 34 bishops a document in which he “expressed his conclusions and reflections” on the 2300-page report compiled by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and his aide, Fr Jordi Bertomeu, during a visit to Chile to investigate the scandal.

“The Pope’s text clearly showed a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that have occurred in the Chilean church in relation to those unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse that have resulted in the lessening of the prophetic vigour that characterised her,” Bishop Ramos said.

After reflecting on the Pope’s assessment, he added, the bishops decided to hand in their resignations “to be in greater harmony with the will of the Holy Father.”

“In this way, we could make a collegial gesture in solidarity to assume responsibility – not without pain – for the serious acts that have occurred and so that the Holy Father can, freely, have us at his disposal,” Bishop Ramos said.

After news of the resignations broke Friday morning, Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz tweeted: “I’m very excited about all of this. It does good to our beloved country, to so many people who have suffered because of lying and corrupt bishops, and all the survivors in the world who have been ignored.”

“Now there’s no giving up. History [or the story] changed. Sincere thanks,” Mr Cruz tweeted.

The bishops will continue in office unless or until the Pope accepts their resignations.

FULL STORY

All of Chile’s bishops offer resignations after meeting Pope on abuse (NCR Online)

RELATED COVERAGE

Chile’s bishops offer to resign en masse (The Tablet);

Hope, cynicism both on display after mass Chile resignations (Crux)

Chile’s bishops have offered to resign. That’s still not enough (Catholic Herald)

Chilean bishops offer mass resignation to Pope over abuse scandal (The Age)

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