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Chilean bishops in mass resignation offer to Pope

Pope Francis poses with Chile's bishops after a Vatican meeting
Pope Francis poses with Chile's bishops after a Vatican meeting
By Mark Armstrong
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All 34 of Chile's bishops tendered their resignation over child sex abuse


Every one of Chile's 34 Roman Catholic bishops has offered to resign over a child sex abuse scandal and subsequent cover-up.

The senior clerics made their offer in writing after a three-day meeting at the Vatican at which the Pope handed them a ten-page document accusing the Chilean hierarchy of negligence over child sex abuse.

Victims have accused Cardinal Javier Errazuriz of covering up their claims to protect allegedly abusive Rev. Fernando Karadima, a darling of conservative Chilean Catholics, whose ability to produce vocations endeared him to the church hierarchy.

The victims repeated their accusations earlier this month at the end of a four-day visit with Francis, who has done an about-face on the Chilean scandal after initially discrediting the victims.

"We are facing a very, very particular moment for the universal church, not only for Chile," said Father Jordi Bartomeu, Pope Francis' envoy to Chile. "I believe that it is not something normal to summon the entire bishop's conference here. Therefore, if I were you, I would expect measures and conclusions that will be important. We are making history."

It wasn't immediately clear if the Pope accepted the resignations. The bishops said they would carry on with their pastoral work while he decides their fate.

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