Source: Associated Press
By FRANCES D’EMILIO
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Thursday accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, the latest fallout from a sex abuse scandal whose scope and gravity were initially underestimated by the pontiff.
Last month all 31 of Chile’s active bishops offered to quit for collectively failing to protect children from pedophile priests.
The Vatican announced that Francis allowed Rancagua Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic and Talca Bishop Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca to resign, bringing to five the total number of resignations accepted so far.
In the region of the Rancagua diocese, 14 priests have been accused of having had sex with minors. Bishop Goic had served as head of the Chilean church’s child protection commission.
Francis had already accepted the resignation of Osorno Bishop Juan Barros, once a top aide to Chile’s most notorious predator priest. Originally Francis had been a staunch defender of Barros, dismissing outcries from many of Chile’s faithful, including some church officials, that the bishop was unfit for the office because he ignored abuse by the Rev. Fernando Karadima.