Chilean Bishops visit the Pope in attempt to repair the damage

A group of Chilean bishops - who Pope Francis accused last year of destroying evidence and covering up child sex abuse - visited Rome this week in an attempt to repair the damage.

Crux reports, that a bishop, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed to have helped set up the 14 January meeting. The Chileans are said to have requested the meeting in an attempt to “rebuild the relationship between the Chilean bishops’ conference and the Holy See, making it more formal and structured.” 

There has been tension between Chile and the papacy since the Pope summoned every Chilean bishop to Rome last May to address an ongoing institutional crisis involving cases of clerical sexual abuse, some of which go back many decades and continue to be mishandled.

According to Crux, the bishop said the objective was to once again have “formal ties” between the government of the global Church and that of Chile, because the structural bond “is broken.”

Pope Francis travelled to Chile in January 2018 and soon after acknowledged he made “serious errors of assessment and perception” in regards to sexual abuse involving members of the clergy in the South American country.

“I recognize … that I have made serious errors of judgement and perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information,” Francis wrote in a letter to the Chilean bishops released 18 April 2018.

Up to eight Chilean bishops have now been subpoenaed by the civil prosecutor’s office on charges of cover-up, including Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago, one of the five who met with the Pope this week.

Crux reports that last November, during their general assembly, some of the Chilean prelates expressed anger with the way Francis had treated them and stated their wish to visit Rome for a resolution. 

However, the Chilean bishop who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the reason for the visit was not to voice resentment but to try to re-build the bond, although, he said, this wasn’t to say that some of the prelates weren’t hurt.

“If some of us weren’t upset, we’d all be Martians,” he said.

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