Vatican City

Chilean bishops quit en masse over paedophilia (3)

Pope apologised over handling of Barros-Karadima case

Chilean bishops quit en masse over paedophilia (3)

Vatican City, May 18 - Chilean bishops in Rome to discuss the clerical sex abuse scandal on Friday said they had tendered their resignations to Pope Francis. They made the announcement at the end of talks with the pope over the crisis in the Chilean Church over the paedophilia scandal. Pope Francis ended his talks with Chilean bishops on the paedophilia scandal by thanking them in a letter Thursday "for the full willingness that each showed to join and collaborate in all those changes and resolutions that we will have to implement in the short, medium and long term, necessary to restore justice and ecclesial communion". Pope Francis met with 34 Chilean bishops at the Vatican as part of a series of confidential gatherings to formulate a response to the child abuse crisis that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the South American country, director of the Vatican press office Greg Burke has said. There were meetings on four days this week. In a statement on Saturday the Vatican Press Office explained that "it is fundamental to restore trust in the Church through good Pastors who witness with their lives that they have heard the voice of the Good Shepherd, and who know how to accompany the suffering of the victims, and work in a determined and tireless way in the prevention of abuse". "The Holy Father thanks his brother Bishops for their willingness to stand in docile and humble listening to the Holy Spirit, and he renews his request to the People of God in Chile to continue to pray for the conversion of all". The pope has apologised to abuse victims for playing down their opposition to Bishop Juan Barros who they said covered up abuse by the country's worst clerical predator Father Fernando Karadima, despite allegedly witnessing it. Last month Francis admitted to making "serious mistakes" over child sex abuse by members of the clergy in Chile. The pontiff made the admission in a letter to the bishops of Chile after reading a report by two special envoys sent for the express purpose of listening the stories of victims in the South American country. Francis caused an outcry during his visit to Chile in January when he defended Bishop Barros, who is accused of protecting predator priest Karadima despite having witnessed the abuse, saying there was no proof. "The collected testimonies speak in a stark way, without additives or sweeteners, of many crucified lives, and I confess to you that that causes me sorrow and shame," the pope wrote in the letter, which the Vatican made public. "I have made serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially due to the lack of truthful and balanced information." The head of the Catholic Church asked for forgiveness "from all those I have offended," saying he hoped to do so personally in coming days, in a series of meetings in Rome with representatives of the people interviewed.

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