The Guardian reports:
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean bishop he robustly defended earlier this year despite claims of a cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, a move that later forced the pontiff into making a public apology.
In his continuing efforts to show he has grasped the extent of the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal, and intends to deal with those embroiled in it as perpetrators or colluders, Francis accepted the resignations on Monday of Juan Barros, as well as his fellow bishops Gonzalo Duarte and Cristián Caro.
They were among 34 Chilean bishops who offered to resign last month after Francis said the country’s religious hierarchy was collectively responsible for “grave defects” in handling sexual abuse cases and the church’s resulting loss of credibility.
Barros was a protégé of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who in 2011 was found guilty by the Vatican and ordered to retire for abusing dozens of minors over a decades-long period, with some allegations dating back to the 1980s.
Karadima’s victims have long accused Barros of knowing about the abuse but saying and doing nothing about it. Barros has repeatedly denied playing any role.
The scandal and fury over the bishop cast a dark shadow over Francis’ visit to Chile earlier this year: At least five churches were attacked in Santiago — some with firebombs — and a death threat was made against the pope.