I have been following the Church situation in Chile, but not closely enough to know if this news of a mass resignation of bishops is a gesture, a confession, or a natural consequence of some Vatican process with Pope Francis.
Rocco whispers the obvious, that this act is unprecedented. But so is the worldwide outing of administrative missteps with persons who once were thought to be infected with a particular moral corruption. Patterns of abuse are much more.
Pope-haters will speak of this in terms of a bully in the chair of Saint Peter, no doubt. From the bishops’ statement:
We, all the bishops present in Rome, have tendered our resignation to the Holy Father so that he may decide freely for each of us.
That rather puts Pope Francis in the role of judge on this matter. He’s been drawn deeply into the scandal, a result of his comments regarding a bishop he appointed who was resisted by some clergy, as well as abuse survivors and allies.
Rocco also commented on a Gang-of-9 member:
On another critical front, the move doesn’t include the capital’s already-retired Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, now 84. Long accused of playing a major role in the cover-up for Chile’s most notorious predator, Fernando Karadima, Errazuriz’s ongoing membership in Francis “Gang of Nine” lead advisers has drawn the most potent scorn from survivors and their advocates.
… and he offered this nugget from the Holy Father’s statement about the bishops in which he criticized “their style of governing had seen the church commit the ‘sin of becoming the center of attention’ as opposed to ‘signaling and announcing’ Jesus to the world around it – a shift, he said, born from a ‘loss of prophetic strength.’
The problems you live today within the ecclesial community, will not be solved solely by taking the concrete cases and reducing them to the removal of persons; this – and let me say it clearly – will have to be done, but it is not sufficient, there is more of a ways to go.
It would be irresponsible on our part to not deepen our search for the roots and structures which enabled these concrete events to happen and perpetuate themselves.
One big thing so often missed is how predators and addicts groom allies. It is one reason why they succeed in their darkness for so long. Within families, adults are lined up to ally against abused children. In workplaces, those with jobs to protect and careers to nurture. Within the Church, we have patrons, supervisors, pastors, bishops–it should be no surprise that is fathers in families can succumb to the wiles of an abuser or addict that ecclesial fathers are no less vulnerable to be turned against those who have been gravely harmed.