Pope personally writes to Chilean bishops to thank them

Pope Francis has personally written a letter to Chile’s bishops to thank them for changes they have made to their response to allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.

Francis’s handwritten letter follows the bishops’ formal, written apology for failing to listen to clerical abuse victims.

In addition to their apology, the bishops have made a number of changes to prevent charges of interfering with the pursuit of justice by alleged victims occurring in future.

These include:

  • Promising to draw up a formal agreement with the national prosecutor’s office to share information
  • Vowing to release information on investigations carried out within their dioceses and urging the superiors of religious orders to do the same
  • Expanding the competencies of their national review board and appointing a laywoman lawyer to lead it
  • Appointing another laywoman to direct a new department within the bishops’ conference for the Prevention of Abuse.

In his letter, Francis told the bishops he is “impressed by the reflection, discernment and decisions” they have taken.

“May the Lord reward you abundantly for this communal and pastoral effort,” Francis said.

“The decisions (of the bishops) are realistic and concrete. I’m sure that they will decidedly help in this process.”

Francis’s response to the bishops is very different from his public denunciation of the “culture of abuse and cover-up” in Chile’s Catholic Church in April this year.

At that time, Francis said he was ashamed that neither he nor Chilean Church leaders truly ever listened to victims as Chile’s abuse scandal spread.


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News category: World.

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