Vatican Corner 06-17-18

On June 11, 2018, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid from his post as the head of the diocese of Osomo, Chile. Francis also accepted the resignations of two other Chilean bishops who had reached the normal retirement age of 70. Those three bishops were among the 34 who had offered their resignations to Pope Francis after recently being summoned to the Vatican. On May 15 – 17 Francis met with 31 active and two retired Chilean bishops to give them a severe reprimand for their role in covering up sexual abuse by priests and their “grave omissions” in caring for victims. Before the meeting the Vatican issued a harsh statement that Pope Francis wanted to determine responsibility for the crisis and map out changes in the Chilean church to prevent these “devastating wounds” from recurring. The statement went on to say “It is fundamental to re – establish trust in the church through good pastors … who know how to accompany the suffering of victims and work in a determined and tireless way to prevent abuse.” During the meeting with the Chilean bishops Pope Francis read to them his conclusions and reflections on the 2,300 page report that his two seasoned investigators prepared from their trip to Chile to get to the bottom of the scandal. That report caused Francis to learn the truth and he then apologize to the victims saying “I was part of the problem.” According to Auxiliary Bishop Perez, the secretary – general of the Chilean bishop’s conference, the Pope’s conclusions from the report clearly described a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that occurred in the Chilean church in relation to those unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse. For years, sex abuse victims have blasted the Chilean church 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. The most vocal abused victims of Rev. Fernando Karadima, accused Rev. Juan Barros Madrid (later becoming Bishop Barros) of being on hand during the abuse. According to cruxnow.com, the report Francis received “goes beyond Rev. Karadima and Bishop Barros, and names three other bishops who were part the Rev. inner circle. Also cruxnow reports that “even though Karadima was a ‘monster,’ he’s not the worst one.” .At the meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, the Chilean bishops defended their behavior, insisting that they were perfectly forthcoming with Francis about Bishop Barros and denied responsibility for the “ lack of truthful and balanced information” that Francis blamed them for, and which caused his missteps. However Bishop Perez said after reflecting on the Pope ’ s assessment, the bishops decided to hand in their resignations “to be in greater harmony with the will of the Holy Father.” “In this way, we could make a collegial gesture in solidarity to assume responsibility – not without pain – for the serious acts that have occurred and so that the Holy Father can, freely, have us at his disposal. ” After the news of the resignations, Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz tweeted: I ’ m very excited about all of this. It does good to our beloved county, to so many people who have suffered because of lying and corrupt bishops, and all the survivors in the world who have been ignored. ” “ Now there ’ s no giving up. History changed. ” Regarding the resignations, there is no word yet if Pope Francis will be accepting more resignations, we will see.