Pope’s Chile abuse summit ends amid signs heads will roll


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday ended his emergency summit with Chile’s bishops by thanking them for their “full willingness” to do whatever it takes to recover from a sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has discredited the church.

Francis bid farewell to each of the 34 bishops from Chile amid indications that heads will roll after four days of meetings and prayer. Vatican television showed the Chilean bishops thanking Francis as they took their leave. The only one Francis is shown kissing on each cheek and patting on the arm was Bishop Juan Barros, who is at the center of the scandal.

In a farewell letter given to each bishop, Francis said he had already apologized to the sex abuse victims he had discredited. He reminded the churchmen that they had joined in that apology “with the firm aim of repairing the wounds.”

“I thank you for the full willingness each one of you has shown to cooperate in all the short, medium and long-term changes and resolutions that we must implement to re-establish justice and the ecclesial communion,” Francis wrote.

Francis summoned the entire Chilean bishops’ conference to Rome after admitting that he had made “grave errors in judgment” in the case of Barros, who is accused by victims of Chile’s most notorious predator priest of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.

Barros has denied their claim. Francis had strongly defended him during his January trip to Chile, drawing scorn from Chileans and even his own top sex abuse adviser.

After returning home, Francis sent two Vatican investigators to get to the bottom of the scandal, and they came back with a much broader view of the scale of priestly abuse and cover-up in the Chilean church, presenting Francis with a 2,300-page dossier.

One of the investigators, the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, said Thursday that Francis was “making history” with the summit.

“What is sure is that we are facing a very, very particular moment for the universal church, not only for Chile,” he told reporters. “It’s not normal to call here an entire bishops’ conference. Therefore, if I were you, I would expect measures and conclusions that will be important.”

For years, sex abuse victims have blasted the Chilean hierarchy for discrediting their claims, protecting abusers, moving them around rather than reporting them to police and then handing out light sentences when church sanctions were imposed.

Francis too, though, was harshly criticized for discrediting victims by saying their …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News


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