Pope Francis accepts resignation of bishop at the centre of Chile’s sex abuse scandal that has devastated Catholic Church’s reputation in the country

Monday, June 11, 2018
By Paul Martin

Chile’s 34 bishops offered their resignations over the scandal in Rome in April
The resignation of Bishop Juan Barros and two others were accepted on Monday
Barros, 61, was accused of covering up the abuse of Father Fernando Karadima
Karadima was accused of abusing teenage boys in Chile as far back as 1984

11 June 2018

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Chilean bishop at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church.

The pontiff accepted the resignation letters of three of the highest figures in the Chilean church on Monday – including the controversial Juan Barros.

All 34 of Chile’s bishops had offered to resign last month, but Pope Francis announced only three would be stepping aside – Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt.

Barros, 61, is accused of covering up the crimes of Father Fernando Karadima who was first accused of abusing teenage boys in Chile in 1984.

The case made international headlines earlier this year after Francis accused Karadima’s victims of committing slander and defended Barros for his part in the scandal.

Back in 2015, Francis appointed Juan Barros as a Bishop in the Chilean diocese of Osorno despite the protestations of some of Chile’s other bishops.

Barros had previously been accused by Karadima’s victims of having witnessed and ignored their abuse – but Francis has allowed him to stay in the top post for three years.

He denied the charge, but was one of the 34 Chilean bishops who submitted their resignations to the pope after Francis summoned them to Rome for a dressing down and briefing on the Scicluna report in April.

Over the past three years, Barros twice offered to resign but Francis twice refused to accept it, blaming the opposition to him on ‘stupid leftists’ in Osorno.

Francis has admitted he made ‘grave errors in judgment’ in the Barros case, but he blamed his missteps on a ‘lack of truthful and balanced information’ that reached him. He hasn’t revealed who provided him with the bad information.

In February 2011 the Vatican found Karadima guilty of sexually abusing minors and psychological abuse.

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