A candle-lit vigil is held for sexual abuse victims in Chile church. Recently, 34 Chilean bishops announced their resignation over a child sex abuse scandal within the Church in Chile that has come to haunt the reign of Pope Francis.
"We, all the bishops present in Rome, have tendered our resignation to the Holy Father so that he may decide freely for each of us," the bishops said in a statement after three days of intense meetings with Francis at the Vatican. "We want to ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the Pope, to God's people and to our country for the serious errors and omissions we have committed," the statement continued.
The striking announcement came after the pontiff summoned the bishops over the scandal. Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.
On Thursday evening, Francis promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" in a short declaration to the bishops, made public. But in a confidential 10-page document leaked Friday by Chilean TV channel T13, the Argentine pope goes much further in his indictment of the Chilean Church.
The letter, handed to the bishops at the start of their meetings with Francis, evokes "crimes" and "painful and shameful sexual abuse of minors, abuses of power and conscience by ministers of the Church". 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.