Pope Francis promised “never again” to a culture of abuse and cover-ups in an open letter he issued Thursday to Chilean Catholics.
Francis issued the letter concurrently with a statement from the Vatican announcing the investigation into the child sex abuse and cover-up scandal would resume in Chile, according to Reuters. The Vatican said Francis was sending his two leading sexual abuse investigators — Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and Father Jordi Bertomeu of Spain — to collect more information about how the church enabled abuse in Chile, so Catholic leadership could prevent such a “painful open wound” of a scandal from happening ever again.
“The ‘never again’ to a culture of abuse, and the system of cover-up that allowed it to perpetuate, calls on all of us to work toward a culture of carefulness in our relationships,” Francis said in the letter, according to Reuters.
Scicluna and Bertomeu will focus on the Diocese of Osorno, seat of Bishop Juan Barros, “with the aim of advancing the process of reparation and healing of abuse victims,” Vatican officials said, according to Catholic News. Victims of sexual abuse accused Barros for years of witnessing and failing to stop abuses Rev. Fernando Karadima committed. Francis and the Vatican defended Barros until confronted by victims of abuse — one of whom claimed he had sent a letter to Francis detailing the abuses he suffered and Barros witnessed. Francis had been “part of the problem,” he admitted in early May.
The entire bishops’ conference of Chile then offered their resignations to Francis, which was the first time in history all the bishops of a single country have tendered their resignations. Francis publicly chastised the Chilean church in a 10-page document he delivered to the bishops during an emergency summit with them at the Vatican. He has yet to announce whether he will accept any of the offered resignations.
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