Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean bishop at the centre of a clergy sex abuse cover-up scandal and of two of his peers.
Osorno Bishop Juan Barros has been accused by abuse survivors of protecting Father Fernando Karadima, an infamous predator whom the Vatican found guilty of molesting children in 2011.
Francis accepted the resignations of Barros, of the Archbishop of Puerto Montt, Cristian Caro Cordero, and of Bishop Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar of Valparaiso, the Vatican said in a statement on Monday.
All of Chile’s Catholic bishops – 34 in total – offered last month to quit in a sign of repentance, but left it to the pope to decide who should actually get the chop.
At the time, they collectively asked for “forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the pope, to God’s people and to the country for our serious mistakes and omissions.”
Among those who were spared by Francis is Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, a retired archbishop who sits on an influential nine-member papal advisory panel.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Karadima and a vocal critic of Chilean church leadership, hailed the pope’s decision as the “start of a new day for the Catholic church of Chile.”
“Three corrupt bishops are leaving and more will follow,” he wrote on Twitter. “The gang of delinquent bishops […] is starting to disintegrate today!”