✣ Pope begins clear-out of Chilean bishops

What happened?

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who faced fierce protests during his three-year tenure for allegedly covering up sex abuse by Fr Fernando Karadima. The Pope also accepted the resignations of two prelates past the age of retirement: Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortazar of Valparaiso. All of Chile’s 34 serving bishops offered their resignations in a joint letter last month.

What the Chileans are saying

Juan Carlos Cruz, an abuse survivor who met the Pope last month, said the resignations signalled a “new day for the Catholic Church in Chile”.

He wrote on Twitter: “We hope this is the beginning of the end of this culture of abuse and cover-up.” The Chilean newspaper La Tercera reported that the three resignations were only the start. Some in the Church, it said, suggested up to 16 bishops could go – nearly half of the country’s bishops’ conference. “Nobody is safe,” it said.

The Vatican’s investigators arrived in the Diocese of Osorno a few days after the announcement. La Tercera said Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Fr Jordi Bertomeu were greeted at the airport like “rock stars”. At parishes strongly opposed to Bishop Barros, the paper said, the pair were received “amid songs and applause”.

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