Pope Francis has a lot on his hands as he has to deal with the after effects of a large Chilean sex scandal (and his direct fault in it).
In 2011, Rev. Fernando Karadima, a preacher who was close with Chile’s Catholic elite, was sentenced to a lifetime of penance and prayer after engaging in multiple sex crimes. This would become the start of a decade of investigation into the cover-ups of sexual abuse all throughout the country of Chile.
As ABCNews reports, the most recent event involved Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, whom many didn’t want in the position of leadership to begin with.
A recent Vatican statement announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of Bishop Barros as well as Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt. Francis then named a temporary leader for each diocese.
It was Pope Francis himself who appointed Barros in his position in Chile just three years ago in 2015. When that happened, the decision was met with intense pushback. This is because Barros was already known for ignoring the sexual abuses caused by his colleagues and superiors.
While Barros denies those charges to this day, Pope Francis admits his mistake after he read a 2,300-page report compiled by Vatican investigators Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu. The report explained the depth of Chile's scandal.
Pope Francis also came to this conclusion after speaking to Juan Carlos Cruz.
We shared with you last month that Cruz, who was a victim to sexual abuses by Catholic officials, admitted to having a one-on-one conversation with the Pope.
Cruz shared that the Pope not only apologized to him but allegedly said, “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The Pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”
Those two conversations led to Pope Francis summoning Chile’s Church leaders to the Vatican last month to finally address the issues. That meeting resulted in the resignation of 30 active bishops, including Barros.
After hearing of Barros’s resignation, Juan Carlos Cruz tweeted out the following:
"A new day has begun in Chile's Catholic Church"
“I'm thrilled for all those who have fought to see this day," he added. "The band of criminal bishops … begins to disintegrate today."
While 30 Bishops offered their resignations, Pope Francis has only recently accepted three of them. Barros’s resignation was joined by the other two bishops mentioned earlier who say they only wanted to retire. That said, victims of the sexual abuse cover-ups say the Bishops were also involved in it all.
It seems that Pope Francis has his work cut out for him.