VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After the bishops of Chile issued a formal apology for failing to listen to clerical abuse victims and drew up national guidelines for responding to abuse allegations, Pope Francis sent them a handwritten letter of thanks.
“I am struck by the work of reflection, discernment and the decisions you have made,” the pope wrote in the letter dated Aug. 5 and posted on the website of the Chilean bishops’ conference.
Addressed to Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales, the military ordinary and conference president, Pope Francis’ letter praised the decisions as “realistic and concrete.”
The bishops, who have been accused of interfering with the pursuit of justice by alleged victims, promised to draw up a formal agreement with the national prosecutor’s office to share information; vowed to release information on investigations carried out within their dioceses and urged the superiors of religious orders to do the same; expanded the competencies of their national review board and appointed a laywoman lawyer to lead it; and appointed another laywoman to direct the new Department for the Prevention of Abuse within the bishops’ conference.
Pope Francis told the bishops that what “struck me most” about the decisions made in early August was “the example of an episcopal community united in guiding the holy, faithful people of God. Thank you for this edifying example.”.
The pope’s letter, in tone and in its informality, was markedly different than one he sent them in April when he apologized to abuse survivors for making “serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information,” presumably from the bishops.
He summoned the country’s bishops to Rome for a three-day meeting in May. At the end of the meeting, most of the bishops offered the pope their resignations. By late June, he had accepted five of the resignations.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103