By Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing, May 24, 2018
The surprise announcement by all the bishops of Chile of their submissions of resignations to Pope Francis is a stunning development. I did live television commentary for the Brooklyn Diocese’s NET TV of Pope Francis’ January apostolic voyage to Chile and Peru. At that time, we discussed, at length, the pope’s strong rebuke of people who accused Bishop Juan Barros of having enabled the sexual abuse of minors by his friend and mentor Fr. Fernando Karadima.
Five months later, the entire Chilean Bishops’ Conference, after a three-day meeting in Rome with Pope Francis, concluded that their collective departure would please him, and would allow him the greatest freedom to rebuild the confidence of Chilean Catholics by installing new bishops throughout the country. How did we arrive at this point?
At the press conference announcing the mass resignation, Bishop Fernando Reyes, the Secretary General of the Chilean Episcopal Conference, said:
In this context of dialogue and discernment, various suggestions were presented as to how to deal with this great crisis, and furthermore the idea developed that, in order to be more in tune with the will of the Holy Father, it was appropriate to declare our absolute readiness to place our pastoral charges in the hands of the pope. In this way, we were able to make a collegial gesture of solidarity to take responsibility – not without sorrow – for the grave things that occurred, and so that the Holy Father could freely decide how to proceed regarding all of us.