By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Saturday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile, pending an investigation into alleged clerical sexual abuse cover-up.
A Vatican statement said the Pope had named Bishop Celestino Aós Braco of the Chilean city of Copiapó, as “apostolic administrator” to run the Santiago archdiocese until a new archbishop is named to succeed Ezzati.
Santiago’s Court of Appeal on Friday rejected Cardinal Ezzati’s motion to dismiss the case and remove himself from the probe. Ezzati has repeatedly affirmed he never concealed child abuse committed by members of the clergy in his diocese or obstructed justice.
Cardinal Ezzati had reportedly asked his lawyers to contact the Public Prosecutor's Office in order to make a statement and carry out all the formalities established by law.
In a statement last July the cardinal had reaffirmed the correctness of his behavior:
"I reaffirm my commitment and that of the Church of Santiago to victims, for the search for truth and respect for civil justice. I am certain that I have never covered up or hindered justice and as a citizen I will fulfil my duty to provide all the information that will help to clarify the facts".
77-year-old Ricardo Ezzati Andrello was appointed bishop by John Paul II in 1996. Benedict XVI appointed him archbishop of Santiago de Chile in 2010 and Pope Francis created him cardinal in 2014.