The Episcopal Conference of Chile (CECh) affirmed this Saturday that the resignation of the archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Ricardo Ezzati, accepted by Pope Francis, is an occasion to "correct" and "open new roads" in the Chilean Church, hit by the sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy.
"Every situation that God is putting up is an opportunity to always correct, amend, repair and also open new paths," CECh spokesman Jaime Coiro told Cooperativa Radio.
Pope Francisco accepted on Saturday the resignation of Ezzati, an influential archbishop very questioned in Chile, where he is accused of the alleged cover-up of cases of sexual abuse.
The Chilean justice rejected on Friday the request of definitive dismissal presented by the defense of the archbishop in the investigation on its participation like concealer in three cases of sexual abuses committed by religious.
Jaime Coiro said that the pontiff's decision has no connection with the latest developments in the judicial field.
"The Vatican and the Pope follow with concern and interest the news of Chile, but such an appointment is not decided waiting for a dismissal that is known mid-morning, this was in process the last days," he said.
The episcopal spokesman recalled that Ezzati, 77, had submitted his resignation to Francisco on grounds of age at 75, although the pope had postponed the decision so far.
Coiro considered that beyond the appointments in the positions of hierarchy of the Chilean Church, the priority now to face the "crisis" is that the Justice continue with the investigations of the denunciations of abuses.
"That the truth be clarified, those responsible be punished and the whole Church make the necessary reparation for the victims, regardless of who is in charge of the jurisdiction," he said.
Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the victims of abuses by priest Fernando Karadima and who has been very critical of Ezzati's role, celebrated his exit on his Twitter account and expressed his wish that the archbishop "and his band" respond to the justice "before escaping from the country".
In the place of Cardinal Ezzati, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Celestino Aós Braco, until now bishop of Copiapó (north), as apostolic administrator in the "vacant seat".
The Chilean National Prosecutor's Office investigates 219 Chilean religious in 158 cases of sexual abuse against 241 victims, of which 123 were minors at the time of the events.