Chile Bishops resign en masse over sex-abuse coverup


Associated Press

VATICAN CITY

In the biggest shake-up yet in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex-abuse scandal, every active Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over what Pope Francis said was their “grave negligence” in investigating abuse and protecting children.

The bishops announced at the end of an emergency Vatican summit that all 31 active bishops in Rome had signed a document offering to resign.

Francis can accept the resignations, reject them or delay a decision, and the bishops remain in place until he acts. But the symbolic significance of an entire national bishops’ conference resigning en masse because they covered-up for pedophiles marked a historic moment in the decades-long saga.

“We want to ask forgiveness for the pain we caused victims, the pope, the people of God and our country for the grave errors and omissions that we committed,” the bishops said. It marked the first known time that an entire national bishops conference had offered to step down over a scandal, and laid bare the devastation the abuse crisis has caused the Catholic Church in Chile and beyond.

Calls for mass resignations had mounted after details emerged of the contents of a 2,300-page Vatican report into the Chilean scandal leaked early Friday.

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