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  • The 34 Chilean bishops who resigned say they

    The 34 Chilean bishops who resigned say they'll serve the church until the pope decides whether they should stay or go. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 May 2018

The 34 Chilean bishops who resigned last week say they'll serve the church until the pope makes his decision on whether they should stay or go.

The 34 Chilean bishops who handed in their resignation to Pope Francis at the Vatican last week following the child sex abuse scandal say the will continue at their posts until the pontiff makes his decision of who among them should remain in the Catholic church, and who should leave.

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The 34 members of the Episcopal Conference of Chile say they want to continue serving the church until their religious leader makes an appropriate decision.

Juan Ignacio Gonzalez, bishop of San Bernardo, told local media: "We thought that the best thing is to put the decisions in the hands of the pope." Until then, each bishop will continue to carry out their responsibilities.

Episcopal Conference President Santiago Silva said: "We ask that crimes be denounced; the Church is not a place to commit a crime. When we talk about shame we are sincere, because the church was not created by Jesus to generate harm."

Francis changed the Vatican rules as early as last February on how long a pope has to decide on a bishop's resignation: from three months to 'indefinite.'

Silva stressed that the most important thing to move forward with is reparations for the victims: "We have to show concrete reparatory actions. What good are good intentions if everything stays the same?"

The bishop went on to say he had no involvement with the case, but the meeting with the Pope last week was part of the papal investigatory process.

The Chilean Episcopal Conference was summoned last week to the Vatican to discuss how much the bishops covered up the actions of the pedophile priest, Father Fernando Karadima, during the 1970s and 1980s in Santiago.

Karadima was found guilty and expelled by the church in 2011, but accusations arose that there had been a massive cover-up by priests and bishops who were mentored by him during his tenure.

Though Francis initially dismissed the allegations, he later sent a group of Holy See investigators to Chile to conduct a three-month investigation, resulting in a 2,300-page report.

The bishops say they haven't yet seen the document, but media outlets announced  the report would be a major focus of last week's papal meeting. The pope announced on Tuesday that he'll meet with other Karadima victims – five priests in total – from June 1 to 3.

"This will conclude the first phase of meetings with the Holy Father to maintain connections with the victims of the abusive system installed for various decades in the El Bosque parochial," said Bishop Fernando Ramos.

"It seems serious to us and we want to ask the Holy See to give us more precise information."

Bishop Gonzalez said: "It is not for the Conference to know about this, but logically our obligation is to show solidarity so that the necessary measures are taken to avoid and banish that evil."


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