Chile's bishops have asked for forgiveness for the abuse scandal, leaving the decision on personnel consequences to the pope alone. It is now up to Francis to decide whether to accept the offered resignations.
"All of us bishops present in Rome have placed our ministries in the hands of the Holy Father so that he can freely decide on each of us," they wrote in a joint statement. They made the announcement Friday at the end of a three-day meeting with Francis at the Vatican.
Pope decides on resignations
Francis could now – at will and with immediate effect – accept a bishop's resignation or reject it. This would be a "gesture of collegiality and solidarity".
The statement does not confirm reports that individual bishops have already resigned. This was read by the secretary general of the bishops' conference, Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos, as well as Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez of San Bernardo.
In addition, both read out two supplementary clarifications in which they acknowledged sexual abuse, but also abuse of power and of conscience in the Chilean church. Questions from journalists were not allowed.
Coming to terms with the abuse scandal
From Tuesday to Thursday, Chile's bishops met with the Pope to discuss the handling of the abuse scandal in the Chilean church. Already at the beginning, the pope gave them a longer text to meditate on. In the letter, he wrote that it is not enough to "only deal with the concrete cases and remove the persons in question".
This would have to be, but it is not enough. "More needs to be done," Francis said in the letter, which Chilean broadcaster Canal 13 published Friday night.