By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis has praised the bishops of Chile for their “decisive” efforts against clerical sex abuse following a recent meeting.
In a handwritten letter sent on Sunday, the Pope says Chile’s bishops have come up with “realistic and concrete” measures against the abuse crisis gripping the Catholic Church in the country.
He thanked the President of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference for the “edifying example” of a united Church community. The Pope also expressed his appreciation for the Chilean bishops’ reflections on their failure to respond to a clerical sex abuse crisis.
In his letter released by the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, Pope Francis said he was “impressed by the work of reflection, discernment, and decisions” carried out to produce a document, entitled “Declaration, Decisions, and Commitments of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference” (in Spanish).
The Pope called their decisions “realistic and concrete” and said they will be a “decisive” help in confronting the crisis.
Pope Francis said he was most impressed by “the example of an Episcopal community united in the shepherding of God's faithful, holy people.” He called their example “edifying” and said it “builds the Church”.
“May the Lord reward you abundantly for this communal and pastoral effort,” the Pope wrote.
Bishop Santiago Silva, to whom the Pope’s letter was addressed, thanked Pope Francis and said his words “comfort us today and encourage us on this path of correction, healing, and reparation”.
Promise to assist prosecutors
Chile’s bishops met last week to discuss the sex abuse crisis facing the Catholic Church and their failed response to it.
In their joint document, the bishops recognize their “failures and omissions” and promise to assist prosecutors investigating allegations of sex abuse.
Asking for forgiveness, Chile’s bishops said they had failed to help and accompany victims who had suffered “grave sins and injustices committed by priests and clergy.”