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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 3 April, 2020

Pope accepts resignation of Chile cardinal over sex abuse cases

Ricardo Ezzati, archbishop of Santiago, is the highest-ranking Catholic official in Chile.

Ricardo Ezzati
Ricardo Ezzati
Image: Alessandra Tarantino via PA Images

POPE FRANCIS HAS accepted the resignation of a Chilean cardinal who has agreed to step down along with his country’s bishops over sex abuse cases and their cover-up. 

Ricardo Ezzati, archbishop of Santiago, is the highest-ranking Catholic official in Chile. He is the seventh senior Chilean church official to resign over a scandal which the Pope insists must be remedied.

To date, Ezzati has maintained his right to silence. However, he has promised to cooperate with the investigation into his activities – if the authorities first clear him, insisting he is innocent. 

The decision comes with Chilean media reporting that the nation’s Court of Appeal had yesterday confirmed he would face trial for not denouncing sexual abuse by three priests.

On Tuesday, Pope Francis rejected the resignation of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who is convicted of a sex abuse cover-up. Barbarin has appealed this decision. 

A Lyon court ruled earlier this month that Barbarin was guilty of failing to report allegations of abuse of boy scouts committed by a priest, Bernard Preynat, in the 1980s and 1990s.

Earlier this month, disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell also received a jail term for sexual abusing two choirboys. 

Pell (77) has maintained his innocence and says he plans to appeal his conviction on five offences including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997.

These cases comes as the Pope has been seeing to restore faith in the Catholic Church following a slew of abuse scandals across the world, including in Australia, Chile and the United States.

Includes reporting by © AFP, 2019

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