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Two more bishops resign in Chile over child sex abuse scandal

Several senior members of Chile’s Catholic Church are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by paedophile priest Fernando Karadima.

File photos of lay members of the Catholic Church carrying a sign that reads in Spanish “Truth and justice bear peace”.
File photos of lay members of the Catholic Church carrying a sign that reads in Spanish “Truth and justice bear peace”.
Image: Fernando Lavoz/AP/Press Association Images

POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTED the resignation of two more Chilean bishops following a child sex abuse scandal that has gripped the Latin American nation.

The Vatican announced the resignation of the bishop of Rancagua, 78-year-old Alejandro Goic Karmelic and the bishop of Talca, Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca, 64.

Several senior members of Chile’s Catholic Church are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by paedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

Goic offered his resignation three years ago due to his age, but the Pope did not accept it. His departure comes amid a sexual abuse scandal in his own diocese, where 14 priests have been suspended.

Those crimes were allegedly committed by a network called “The Family” over the course of at least a decade, before a member of the parish denounced them last week in a television report. A criminal investigation is underway.

Carmen Valenzuela, meanwhile, was a follower of Karadima, who was suspended for life by the Vatican. He was named by Karadima’s victims as a figure who ignored or covered up the abuse.

Several victims welcomed the news of their resignations.

“Slowly but surely… two less wicked and corrupt bishops”, Juan Carlos Cruz, now a communications executive, wrote on Twitter.

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The entire Chilean delegation of bishops tendered its resignation to the pope in May after a series of meetings at the Vatican.

Earlier this month, Francis accepted the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including the controversial Juan Barros who Karadima’s victims accuse of covering up wrongdoing.

The pontiff himself became mired in the scandal when, during a trip to Chile in January, he defended Barros. However the pope later apologised to Karadima’s victims and said he had made “grave mistakes”.

- © AFP, 2018

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