Pope Francis begins purge in Chilean church over sex abuse scandal

  • Pope Francis begins purge in Chilean church over sex abuse scandal

Pope Francis begins purge in Chilean church over sex abuse scandal

An global family rally the Catholic Church is hosting in Ireland will feature workshops on hot-button issues facing Catholic families, including protecting children from clergy sexual abuse, weathering divorce and ministering to lesbian and gay faithful.

The scandal is the latest to rock the Roman Catholic Church, and Argentine-born Francis said it must not happen again on his watch.

Barros, who has always denied allegations he witnessed and covered up sexual abuse cases, asked for forgiveness for his "limitations" in handling the scandal in a statement. Of the three, only the 61-year-old Barros is below the retirement age of 75. "Three corrupt bishops are out", said Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima's victims who was received by the pope in May along with two other men the priest had abused.

But by also accepting the resignations of the two other bishops, Francis is making clear that the troubles in Chile's church do not rest on Barros's shoulders alone, or on those of the more than 40 other priests and three other bishops trained by Fernando Karadima.

Francis has apologised to the victims and admitted he had made "grave mistakes" after reading a 2,300-page report on abuses in Chile.

In an unprecedented move, all of Chile's 34 bishops offered to resign en masse last month after attending a meeting with the pope over allegations of a cover-up of sexual abuse. The second group comprises five Chilean priests who met Francis at the start of June.

Martin's talk is not the only meeting event indicating that organizers were keen to follow Francis' lead and reach out to some of the most marginalized Catholics.

In 2013, Vice released a special report detailing the PR machinery which, so it seems, has managed to turn Pope Francis into a popular, widely-appreciated individual in spite of sexual abuse scandals.

The mass resignation of an entire delegation of bishops is nearly unheard of, having last happened two centuries ago.

It qualifies the removal of certain prelates from their roles as necessary but "insufficient", calling for "the roots" that allowed for such abuse within an "elitist and authoritarian" Chilean church to be examined.

The Pope continued to defend his appointment, telling reporters: "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak".

Acknowledging that the pope's program "is very tight", Martin added, "We will find a way in which the pope will be able to address the concerns of all of those people", he said.

Victims of Fernando Karadima said Juan Barros had been present when the priest had abused them.

The Vatican's most experienced sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna visited Chile earlier this year to look into the scandal.

President Sebastian Pinera, a practising Catholic, recently said he was saddened by the fact that the Church "is increasingly remote, not only from worshippers but from people in general".