Chile’s bishops resign en masse over sex abuse cover-up

Source: Associated Press

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In the biggest shake-up yet in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse scandal, every active Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over what Pope Francis said was their “grave negligence” in investigating abuse and protecting children.

The bishops announced at the end of an emergency Vatican summit that all 31 active bishops in Rome had signed a document offering to resign.

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Francis can accept the resignations, reject them or delay a decision, and the bishops remain in place until he acts. But the symbolic significance of an entire national bishops’ conference resigning en masse because they covered-up for pedophiles marked a historic moment in the decades-long saga.

“We want to ask forgiveness for the pain we caused victims, the pope, the people of God and our country for the grave errors and omissions that we committed,” the bishops said in a statement.

They thanked victims for their “perseverance and courage,” for having continued to denounce crimes and cover-up by the church despite “the incomprehension and attacks from the same church community.”

 

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