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Every Bishop in Chile Tells Pope They Will Resign

Their fate is now in hands of pope in midst of church's long-running abuse saga
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2018 7:34 AM CDT
Pope Francis arrives to meet with Benin President Patrice Talon at the Vatican on Friday.   (Vincenzo Pinto/Pool Photo via AP)
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(Newser) – Every Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over a sex abuse and cover-up scandal, in the biggest shakeup ever in the Catholic Church's long-running abuse saga. The bishops announced at the end of an emergency summit with Pope Francis that all 31 active bishops and three retired ones had signed a document offering to resign and putting their fate in the hands of the pope. Francis can accept the resignations one by one, reject them, or delay a decision, reports the AP. It marked the first known time in history that an entire national bishops conference had offered to resign en masse over a scandal. Francis summoned the entire bishops conference to Rome after admitting that he had made "grave errors in judgment" in the case of Bishop Juan Barros.

Barros is accused by victims of the Rev. Fernando Karadima of witnessing and ignoring their abuse. But the scandal grew beyond the Barros case after Francis received a 2,300-page report written by two Vatican sex crimes experts sent to Chile to get a handle on the scope of the problem. Their report hasn't been made public, but Francis cited its core findings in the footnotes of a document that he handed over to the bishops at the start of their summit this week. And those findings are damning. Francis accused the bishops of destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring investigators to minimize abuse accusations, and showing "grave negligence" in protecting children from pedophile priests. The AP has much more here.

(Read more Catholic Church stories.)

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