All 31 active Chilean bishops join in mass resignation

All 31 active Chilean bishops join in mass resignation

Catholic World News – May 18, 2018

All 31 active members of the Chilean Catholic bishops’ conference have submitted their resignations to Pope Francis.

The stunning move, announced on May 18, comes after the Chilean bishops spent three days in Rome, meeting with the Pontiff, to discuss the sex-abuse scandal in their country.

In announcing their willingness to resign, the Chilean bishops said that they had offered freely to step down and had left their future status “in the hands of the Holy Father,” allowing the Pope to decide which bishops should be removed. The bishops thanked the Pope for his “fraternal correction” and offered their apologies to the victims of sexual abuse.

The unprecedented mass resignation follows a series of events that caused mounting tensions within the Church in Chile: the 2011 conviction of Father Fernando Karadima, a highly influential priest, on abuse charges; the Pope’s 2015 decision to promote Bishop Juan Barros, a prelate with close ties to Karadima; and the Pope’s own public statements that criticism of Bishop Barros was based only on “unfounded allegations of leftists.”

The controversy reached a peak in January, when the Pontiff visited Chile, and responded to questions by saying that he had never received evidence of wrongdoing or negligence by Bishop Barros. That public statement by the Pope was called into question when one of Karadima’s victims revealed that he had sent a letter to Pope Francis, explaining the bishop’s negligence; the letter was reportedly hand-delivered by Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

In answer to increasingly urgent questions, Pope Francis commissioned Archbishop Charles Scicluna, formerly the Vatican’s top sex-abuse prosecutor, to investigate the situation in Chile. After receiving a lengthy report from Archbishop Scicluna, the Pope issued an emotional apology for his handling of the matter, acknowledging “serious mistakes.” He then arranged personal meetings with some Chilean sex-abuse victims, and summoned the Chilean bishops to Rome for a thorough discussion.

In a letter made public at the conclusion of this week’s three-day meeting, the Pope thanked the Chilean bishops for their willingness “to cooperate in all the short-, medium-, and long-term changes and resolutions that we must implement.” He urged them to return home with a new commitment to build a “prophetic Church, capable of putting at the center what’s important: the service to her Lord in the hungry, the imprisoned, the migrant, the abused.”

However, in a longer letter, which leaked to the press after the meeting, the Pope used much stronger language to denounce the “absolutely reprehensible things that have happened in the Chilean Church,” citing not only sexual abuse but “unacceptable abuses of power” and a loss of “prophetic vigor.”

In this longer letter the Pope revealed that Archbishop Scicluna’s report had uncovered clear evidence of “grave negligence” among the Chilean bishops, as well as evidence that some bishops had covered up abuse and put pressure on Church officials to do the same.

“No one can exempt himself and place the problem on the shoulders of the others,” the Pope wrote. “We need a change,” he said. While acknowledging that the removal of some bishops would be a positive step, he wrote: “I insist, it’s not enough.”

The dramatic resignation by the entire Chilean hierarchy leaves Pope Francis in a position to write his own conclusion to the story. The most urgent question, clearly, is which resignations the Holy Father will choose to accept, and which Chilean bishops will be allowed to continue in ministry.

However, the resignations also raise new questions about how the Holy See will handle complaints about bishops’ negligence in handling sex-abuse charges. Under the guidance of Pope Francis, the Vatican created, then quietly dissolved, a special panel that would have tried bishops on such charges. Instead, the Vatican announced that accusations of negligence would be weighed by existing bodies, primarily the Congregation for Bishops. The Chilean mass resignation could skirt that process, and set no precedent for the handling for future cases in which bishops are accused of negligence.

Also, the resignation of Chile’s active bishops leaves unresolved the status of one prominent retired prelate: Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, the former Archbishop of Santiago, who remains a member of the influential Council of Cardinals. Cardinal Errazuriz—who did not attend this week’s meetings in Rome— has been charged with working to silence report by Karadima’s accusers.

 

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6 comments on “All 31 active Chilean bishops join in mass resignation

  1. Why Did All the Chilean Bishops Offer Pope Their Resignations?
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    Steve Skojec – May 18, 2018
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    Was going to write a post about this. Decided a quick video would be faster on a Friday afternoon. Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.


    www.youtube.com/embed/TR22T_8vwfc

  2. [Chile now, Ireland then (but not carried out): Rather than replace one bishop at a time for age, disability or other reason for resignation, a quick and efficient way to replace an entire hierarchy in one fell swoop: Put them in a situation where they must tender their resignations en masse]
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    [Un-named Irish] prelate proposed all Irish Catholic bishops resign following abuse reports
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    Resignation of Chilean bishops ‘a very, very important development’, says Mary McAleese
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    Patsy McGarry – 5/20/18
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    Mary McAleese: the former president said the Chilean bishops’ resignation seemed to her “a huge acceptance of responsibility”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
    Mary McAleese: the former president said the Chilean bishops’ resignation seemed to her “a huge acceptance of responsibility”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
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    Ireland’s Catholic bishops considered resigning en masse following the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports into child abuse in 2009, former president Mary McAleese has said.
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    “I do remember, at the time of our own problems with the Ryan and Murphy reports in particular, that there was a suggestion from a very senior cleric in Ireland that the Irish bishops might consider something like that,” she said in Dublin on Saturday. “It didn’t happen. I don’t really know if it was discussed.”
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    Ms McAleese was speaking in the context of the mass resignation by Chile’s 34 Catholic bishops last Friday after they were summoned to Rome to meet Pope Francis in connection with cover-up of clerical child sexual abuse in that country.
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    In a similar context, Ireland’s Catholic bishops were summoned to Rome in February 2010 to meet Pope Benedict XVI.
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    That followed publication in May 2009 of the Ryan report, which investigated abuses of children in orphanages, reformatories and industrial schools, and of the Murphy report in November 2009, which investigated the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese.
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    Responsibility
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    Ms McAleese said the Chilean bishops’ resignation seemed to her “a huge acceptance of responsibility even from those who might not have been directly implicated in the story itself or in the narrative that led to this…”.
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    She said it was “an interesting development” this “acceptance that maybe the right thing to do is to put your hands up, run up the white flag and say ‘we are all responsible’. We had a bishop who did that here and indeed has gained himself huge respect in so doing.”
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    This was a reference to former Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Jim Moriarty, who resigned in 2009 following the publication of the Murphy report because he had been “part of the governance of the [Dublin] archdiocese” and “should have challenged the prevailing culture”.
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    As to whether the Irish bishops should have resigned then, Ms McAleese said: “I don’t know. It wasn’t really within contemplation at the time.” Now that it has been done she felt “that it is a potential clearing of the decks and it’s a signalling of what I might call in another circumstance ‘corporate responsibility’”.
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    Acceptance of such responsibility was “a very, very important development” in the church, she said.
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    ‘Badly advised’
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    “I think the Chilean bishops must have looked at a pope coming to Chile after all we’ve been through, after all the reports, including what was going on in Australia with the royal commission.”
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    He had been either “badly advised or chosen a particular side of advice” and, after five years as a popular pope, “made a blunder that really stands as a blemish, a big blemish on his papacy, that he had to apologise for publicly”. She felt “this grand gesture by the bishops, it grabs all that, it mops all that up and it’s a response to how big the story really is.”
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    Damaging
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    As to whether it would now be damaging for Pope Francis not to accept the Chilean bishops’ resignation, she said: “That I don’t know because I think these are questions really for the people of Chile. What do the people of Chile want? What do the faithful of Chile want? What would restore trust for them in their sacred pastors?”
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    She suspected “that for many of them, as probably with us here, there is something isn’t there about the person who takes responsibility, puts their hands up and says: “Even if I wasn’t entirely complicit, I was part of the culture and so let me clear the space to make way for a fresh new culture.
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    “So I imagine that people would want that expression of their desire for resignation to be honoured. But it’s a matter for the pope, of course.”

    • Hilary White concurs (“[It] now gives him the opportunity to make some, shall we say, strategic appointments in Latin America”) in the following:
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      Byyeeeee!!!! – How far will he go to deflect attention? This far.
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      MAY 19, 2018
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      You all were wondering how much he would be willing to sacrifice to preserve his reputation among the seculars… And were we perhaps wondering what would happen to someone who caused serious damage to his programme. Now we know, eh? He’ll sacrifice an entire episcopate to deflect attention from his own guilt. Those expecting a retraction, correction or apology for the Barros disaster, here’s your message from the pope.
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      Every Chilean bishop in Rome resigns
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      That’s commitment, at least…
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      Meanwhile, it’s a message: Cause trouble? This is what happens.
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      Someone needs to tell Bergoglio that the Evil Overlord List of things not to do when you want to be an Evil Overlord precludes sacrificing loyal underlings to make a point.
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      It’s a rookie mistake. Like monologuing about your Evil Plans for world domination when you think you’ve got the hero strapped to the table…
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      A friend who Knows Things sends me this comment: “Unless this is one great big orchestrated exercise in deflection, [not to be ruled out] and a publicity stunt…to simply remove them as Bishops, without doing a canonical investigation and trial of all those who are guilty, let’s everybody off the hook.” And of course, now gives him the opportunity to make some, shall we say, strategic appointments in Latin America…
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      One thing for sure, it does send a message. One I’ve helpfully reiterated in plain language: Dear bishops; your wishywashy brownnosing is NOT GOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE.
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      Meanwhile anything bad that happens to bishops – particularly anything bad happening to them from the man who most embodies their own monstrous compromises – puts a smile on my face, so it does.
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      Smile you generation of vipers, while we take some selfies over your steaming cor…

    • [So does Phil Lawler]
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      Fallout from the Chilean bishops’ resignations: some unanswered questions
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      By Phil Lawler | May 21, 2018
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      The mass resignation of Chilean bishops has provided us with more questions than answers. Among the questions that must be answered before this dramatic move can be assessed:
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      Did the Chilean bishops resign on their own initiative? All of them? Or did the Pope suggest the move? If the latter, did he suggest resignations or call for them? Did he make any effort to distinguish between the bishops guilty of covering up abuse and those who may be innocent, or will those questioned be addressed now, after the fact?
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      Will the Pope accept only the resignations of those bishops who have been gravely negligent (or worse) in handling sex-abuse complaints? With the resignations on his desk, what’s to stop him from replacing other bishops, who may have handled abuse cases properly, but incurred the Pope’s displeasure on other grounds?
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      If the Bishop of Rome can require other bishops to resign—can indeed plan to remodel the hierarchy of an entire nation—what then are the limits of his power? Only recently the Pontiff asked the German bishops to settle their own theological differences on the question of intercommunion. If they fail to find a consensus, could he theoretically ask all of them to resign, for the sake of ecclesial communion, and remove those whose views he found distasteful?
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      If the Pope has the authority to dismiss bishops for serious offenses (and he alone determines which offenses fall into that category), in what sense is the Church governed by a college of bishops? What differentiates this form of administration from the corporate style, in which the chief executive is free to hire and fire his subordinates at will?
      /
      Will Orthodox prelates, already leery of papal authority, be frightened by this unprecedented move? If an entire body of bishops can be swept away at the Pontiff’s demand, what hope can Orthodox bishops have for preserving any vestige of their autonomy if they return to communion with the Holy See? Will the Chilean episode be a setback for ecumenical progress, then?
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      In short, whatever happened to collegial and synodal style of leadership that Pope Francis has consistently recommended?

  3. Behind the Chilean bishops’ resignations: a very hopeful sign?
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    By Phil Lawler | May 23, 2018
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    Although many questions remain about the mass resignation of Chile’s Catholic bishops, last week’s bombshell announcement brought one very promising development.
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    We still don’t know whether Pope Francis demanded, requested, or even encouraged the bishops’ resignations. There have been reports from Chile that the bishops decided to resign on their own volition, before meeting with the Holy Father. But even that report, if accurate, does not rule out the distinct possibility that the Pope had introduced the idea. In any case it seems highly unlikely that the entire body of bishops would resign against the Pope’s wishes. So in what follows I am assuming the Pope Francis at least approved of the gesture.
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    And if that is the case, then Pope Francis— after five years of waffling on the sex-abuse issue— has suddenly gone further than either of his predecessors in a bid to root out the corruption.
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    By “corruption” here I mean the corruption of bishops who cover up the crimes of predatory priests. We saw that corruption in the US, where the “Long Lent” of 2002 exposed the fact that most American bishops had been complicit, to one degree or another, in efforts to hide the evidence of abuse. We saw it in Ireland in 2009, when the “Murphy Report” showed the same pattern, now sadly familiar, of episcopal negligence. Now we see it in Chile, where many bishops— how many, we still don’t know— were evidently involved in the same sort of scandal.
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    The sex-abuse scandal, you see, is not only a matter of priests molesting boys— as horrible as that is. It also involves bishops forsaking their duties, protecting the guilty at the expense of the innocent. While not every bishop was negligent, the pattern was clear enough to show that in each of the cases mentioned above, the entire nation’s hierarchy had been corrupted.
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    In his landmark 2000 article, “The Gay Priest Problem” (excerpted here), [good Jesuit] Father Paul Shaughnessy explained what it means for an entire institution to be corrupted:
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    For example, when we say a certain police force is corrupt, we don’t usually mean that every policeman is on the take—per—haps only five out of a hundred actually accept bribes—rather we mean that this police force can no longer diagnose and cure its own problems, and consequently if reform is to take place an outside agency has to be brought in to make the changes.
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    In 2002, when the pattern of episcopal corruption was exposed in the US, Pope John Paul II summoned the leaders of the US bishops’ conference to the Vatican to discuss the crisis. Following the discussions there, the American bishops gathered in Dallas to address one aspect of the scandal, setting tight new standards for disciplinary action against priests accused of abuse. These standards work well, when they are properly applied. But they do not address the second aspect of the scandal: the negligence or complicity of bishops.
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    Pope Benedict XVI learned from the American experience, and when the scandal exploded in Ireland several years later, he did address the bishops’ failures. In a pastoral message released in March 2010 he told the Irish bishops that they had “failed, at times grievously,” in their duties. He initiated an apostolic visitation of the Church in Ireland, and called for a program of repentance and reform.
    /
    The need for a thorough reform of the Church in Ireland should be especially evident this week, as pro-life activists fight a desperate uphill battle to stop a constitutional amendment that would allow abortion on demand in a country that remains, on paper, overwhelmingly Catholic. The spectacular collapse of Ireland’s Catholic culture shows that the abuse scandal did not arise ex nihilo. when Pope Benedict called for a “rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fulness of God’s own truth,” he had dramatic changes in mind. Unfortunately, dramatic changes were not forthcoming.
    /
    Now, in Chile, the stage is set for dramatic change. The mass resignation indicates an understanding— apparently shared by the Pope and the Chilean bishops— that the scandal could not have reached such mammoth proportions unless the entire body of bishops had failed. Again, this does not mean that every bishop is guilty. It does suggest, however, that the episcopal conference was incapable of reforming itself. So Vatican intervention was necessary.
    /
    Vatican intervention was necessary, too, in the cases of the US and Ireland. But in each of those cases, the reigning Pontiff ultimately decided to let the nation’s bishops resolve their own problems— despite the evidence that those bishops’ conferences were dysfunctional. Pope Francis, it seems, will not make the same mistake.
    /
    Perhaps I am misinterpreting the Pope’s intentions, and/or those of the Chilean bishops. Time will tell. Few people have accused me of being excessively optimistic about the Vatican’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal, or about the leadership of Pope Francis. And again, there are many unanswered questions. Still, there is cause for hope.

  4. “Vatican intervention was necessary, too, in the cases of the US and Ireland. But in each of those cases, the reigning Pontiff ultimately decided to let the nation’s bishops resolve their own problems— despite the evidence that those bishops’ conferences were dysfunctional. Pope Francis, it seems, will not make the same mistake.”
    /
    Don’t be a recidivist fool, Phil. You’ve done very well recently in learning to accept reality; in eschewing the Liberal habit of trying to make reality (hence God) conform to your petty and worthless will. Resist the temptation to fall back into your old, heretical, Universal Papal Infallibilist ways.
    On the contrary, it seems that Francis WILL make the same mistake. He has *abundantly* proven that he is right in with the most filthy muck of the swamp; a fag favoring, old-school Vat II permissivist. I won’t even bother enumerating some of the evidence, as anyone not aware of this is a hopelessly ignorant troglodyte.
    Given this, without some off-the-charts-extraordinary grace, the law of inertia; the law that says that old habits die hard, will prevail. There is no other *reasonable* expectation.
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    “Perhaps I am misinterpreting the Pope’s intentions, and/or those of the Chilean bishops.”
    You most probably are.
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    ” Time will tell.”
    Yes, it will.
    /
    “Few people have accused me of being excessively optimistic about the Vatican’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal, or about the leadership of Pope Francis.”
    I am one of the few. I wish there were more. But it is not a case of optimism vs. pessimism. It’s a matter of accepting reality and just thinking straight.
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    “And again, there are many unanswered questions. Still, there is cause for hope.”
    Ad primum: Yes, there are.
    Ad secundum: No, there isn’t — at least not in Pope Francis himself. There is of course hope for that off-the-charts-extraordinary grace that will convert him from his deeply perverted self into something else.
    /
    Mark my words. Barring that grace, this whole mass resignation thing is just another crafty, manipulative, Modernist scam.

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