Pope Francis accepts resignations of 3 Chilean bishops

June 11 (UPI) — Pope Francis has accepted resignations from three Chilean bishops over a child sexual assault scandal, the Vatican said Monday.

Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, Bishop Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar and Archbishop Cristian Caro Cordero were among 34 Chilean Roman Catholic bishops who submitted their resignations to the pope in May after a three-day meeting in Rome that discussed concerns over the way abuse cases in the South American nations were handled.

The bishops were each acknowledged by the pope Monday.

Accusers said Madrid protected the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who the Vatican found guilty of sexually abusing minors in 2011.

Pope Francis angered abuse victims earlier this year when he said Madrid had been slandered.

In a letter to followers in April, the pope asked for forgiveness and said he misjudged the severity of the cases. He said his perception was “due to a lack of truthful and balanced information.”

In February, the pope reactivated a sexual abuse advisory panel. A Vatican investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta said he was probing allegations against Madrid that he covered up abuse by Karadima.

The pontiff appointed the Rev. Ricardo Basilio Morales Galindo, Monsignor Pedro Mario Ossandon Buljevic and Monsignor Jorge Enrique Concha Cayugueo as interim replacements for the bishops who resigned.