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Pope begins purge in Chilean church over sex abuse scandal | Faith

Pope begins purge in Chilean church over sex abuse scandal | Faith

Church administrators were appointed to run all three diocese.

Acknowledging that the pope's program "is very tight", Martin added, "We will find a way in which the pope will be able to address the concerns of all of those people", he said.

The scandal and fury over the bishop cast a dark shadow over Francis' visit to Chile earlier this year: At least five churches were attacked in Santiago -some with firebombs - and a death threat was made against the pope.

Some of the victims have accused Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, a key adviser to Francis, of ignoring and helping to cover up Karadima's abuses.

It was the Pope's 2015 decision to name Bishop Barros to lead the small, southern Diocese of Osorno that sparked the abuse controversy in the country.

The other two bishops whose resignations were accepted had submitted them prior to the pope's summit after having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

"Today begins a new day for the Catholic Church in Chile and hopefully the world", Cruz wrote.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros as well as those of two others in Chile, Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso, the church announced on Monday.

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Several members of the Church hierarchy, including Barros, are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up years of child abuse by Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

Those findings, which leaked to the media while the Chilean bishops were at the Vatican, have opened a Pandora's Box of new accusations that recently led Francis to become the first pope to refer to a "culture of abuse and cover-up" in the Catholic Church.

The highest-profile of those leaving his post was Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, 61, who has been in the vortex of the abuse saga.

He also chose to host three Chilean sex abuse survivors at his home in the Vatican so he could apologise to them personally and hear their recommendations for change. While the Pope has said removing bishops is a necessary step, he has also stressed an intent to tackle the root causes of the abuse problem which he believes goes beyond making personnel changes.

Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for a group of lay Catholics in Osorno who fought for Barros' removal from office, said it was a "minimum condition" that they had sought from the pope.

The pope irked victims by saying during a recent trip to Chile that there was not a "shred of proof" against Barros.

The eight-page letter, according to CBC, graphically detailed sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, as well as the subsequent coverup by Chilean church authorities.