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Pope Francis approves tribunal to probe bishops over sexual abuse

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Vatican City: Pope Francis on Wednesday approved a proposal to create a tribunal within the Vatican for bishops who cover up alleged paedophile priests, as part of his reform of the city-state’s Curia or governing body.

The new tribunal will be part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, which already has the power to judge priests accused of abusing minors.

The remit of the newly-formed body will cover bishops, judging them “with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the abuse of minors,” the Vatican said.

The tribunal was recommended by a 17-member commission set up by Francis to crack down on sexually abusive clergy, more than a decade after the scandal first emerged in the US, sullying the image of the Catholic Church.

Francis also approved “adequate resources” so bishops can report priests who abuse children and the disabled for abuse of office, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

Three different bodies would be authorized to make such reports, the Congregation of bishops, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Sex abuse victims said they feared the move was just the latest in a series of administrative reforms undertaken by the Vatican to stonewall secular authorities, leading to very few prosecutions.

Despite his virtually unlimited power, Francis is yet to sack any bishops for complicity in child sex abuse, nor has he demoted, disciplined or denounced any complicit church official, according to victims. (IANS)

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Mass Resignations of Catholic Bishops in Chile Over Sex Scandal

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said he had no comment on whether Pope Francis would accept the mass resignation.

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In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal, media reported.
Catholic bishops in Chile resign over the issue of sex scandal. Pixabay

In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal, media reported.

Thirty one active bishops and three retired bishops on Friday announced their resignation after a three-day emergency summit at the Vatican to discuss Chile’s sex abuse scandal.

The simultaneous resignation of all the bishops in a single country is thought to be unprecedented, CNN reported.

The resignations came as the bishops said they placed the issue “in the hands of the Holy Father so that he might freely decide for each one of us”.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said he had no comment on whether Pope Francis would accept the mass resignation.

In response to the resignation of the country’s bishops on Friday, Marie Collins, a former member of the Pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, said that the gesture was not enough.

“No bishop removed — all allowed to resign. Really nothing changes,” Collins wrote on Twitter.

In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal, media reported.
Pope Francis has not commented on the issue yet. Pixabay

Pope Francis called the country’s bishops to Rome after he received a 2,300-page report detailing sexual abuses by priests in Chile.

At the centre of the scandal is the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, whom Francis appointed in 2015 amid an outcry that Barros had known about and covered up abuses.

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The Pope stridently defended Bishop Barros, calling accusations against him “calumny”.

In an about-face in April, after receiving the Vatican investigator’s report, the Pope said he had made “grave errors in judgment”, and apologised to Chile’s sex abuse victims.

In May, the Pope met privately at the Vatican with three of Barros’ main accusers and asked their forgiveness. (IANS)

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