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Chile’s bishops offer resignations after meeting pope on sex abuse

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Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass at O'Higgins Park in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

“We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country’s bishops.

The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Pope Francis.

Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, secretary general of the Chilean bishops’ conference said the pope had read to the 34 bishops a document in which he “expressed his conclusions and reflections” on the 2,300-page report compiled by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and his aide, Father Jordi Bertomeu, during a visit to Chile to investigate the scandal.

“The pope’s text clearly showed a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that have occurred in the Chilean church in relation to those unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse that have resulted in the lessening of the prophetic vigor that characterized her,” Bishop Ramos said.

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