Bishop resigns, purge in Chile over sex-abuse scandal begins

Pope accepts resignation of three bishops over Chile sexual abuse scandal

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

The entire Chilean delegation of bishops tendered its resignation to the Pope last month after a series of meetings at the Vatican.

The Pope named apostolic administrators to run each diocese in the meantime: Mercedarian Father Ricardo Basilio Morales Galindo, Chilean provincial, for the Archdiocese of Puerto Montt; Auxiliary Bishop Pedro Ossandon Buljevic of Santiago for the Diocese of Valparaiso; and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Concha Cayuqueo of Santiago for the Diocese of Osorno.

But days after returning to Rome, a chastened pope, citing new information, sent sexual abuse investigator Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to Chile to speak to victims, witnesses and other church members.

Barros had always been accused of witnessing and covering up the sexual abuse of minors by a priest who had once mentored him.

Pope Francis' appointment of Barros to Osorno in 2015 was met with a wave of objections and calls for his resignation. Caro said in a statement that he offered his resignation because of his age - both he and Duarte have reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 - but asked for "forgiveness for my omissions".

The pope accepted the resignations despite his earlier attempts to defend Juan Barros.

"Today begins a new day for the Catholic Church in Chile and hopefully the world", Cruz wrote.

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It was not immediately clear if Monday's move meant Francis would not accept any of the other resignations.

The 87-year-old Karadima has been punished to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" for sexually abusing children.

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. While the Pope has said removing bishops is a necessary step, he has also stressed an intent to tackle the root causes of the abuse problem which he believes goes beyond making personnel changes.

The pope irked victims by saying during a recent trip to Chile that there was not a "shred of proof" against Barros.

Then, during a visit to the country in January, Francis upset victims by describing claims of a cover-up accusing Bishop Barros as "calumny", sparking a controversy that called into question his handling of the sexual abuse scandal.

The announcement came in a June 11 communique from the Vatican, along with the resignation of two other Chilean bishops.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

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