All Chile’s bishops resign after papal blast

All 34 of Chile’s bishops resigned on Friday after Pope Francis accused them of “grave negligence” and of destroying evidence of sex crimes.

Their resignation followed four sessions with Francis in which they had to explain their actions.

Francis then wrote to them. He asked them to make a “frank discernment in the face of the grave events that have damaged the ecclesial communion and weakened the work of the Church of Chile in recent years.”

The bishops have asked forgiveness from the victims, the Pope and all Catholics for their “grave errors and omissions.”

They have also vowed to repair the damage they have done.

Whether Francis will accept their resignation is yet to be seen.

Bishop Carlos Pellegrin of Chillan says, in offering to resign en masse, the bishops didn’t want to suggest they were “abandoning ship” and leaving Francis alone to deal with their mess.

Another of the bishops, Alejandro Goic, apologised on Saturday for failing to respond to reports of cases of sexual abuse in his diocese.

These included allegations that a priest sent naked pictures of himself to a false Facebook profile.

While many of the Chilean victims of abuse welcomed the news, they have called for the Vatican to pursue further action.

“There are very good people within the Chilean Church who could take over the reins and repair the damage done by these corrupt bishops,” Juan Carlos Cruz, who was an abuse victim, says.


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