The full Spanish text of the Pope’s letter regarding Bishop Barros with a Google translation.
Vatican, January 31, 2015
To the Bishops of the Permanent Committee of the Episcopal Conference of Chile
I received the email dated 23 of this month. Thank you very much for expressing openly the concern that you have at this moment regarding the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid. I understand what they tell me and I am aware that the situation of the Church of Chile is difficult due to all the tests that have had to endure.
I assure you, in addition to my fraternal understanding, my closeness as a brother and my prayer.
I remember well your visit in February of last year and also the various proposals, which I found prudent and constructive.
However, a serious problem arose later in the year. Señor Nuncio [Archbishop Ivo Scapolo ] asks Msgr. Barros to resign [from his position of Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of Chile] and urges him to take a sabbatical (one year, for example) before assuming another pastoral responsibility as a diocesan Bishop. And he says that the same procedure will be taken with the Bishops of Talca [Bishop Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca] and Linares [Bishop Tomislav Koljatic Maroevic], but not to tell them. Msgr. Barros sends the text of his resignation adding this comment from the Nuncio.
As you can understand, this comment by Señor Nuncio complicated and blocked any eventual further path in the sense of offering a sabbatical year. We discussed the matter with Cardinal Ouellet [President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops] and I know that he spoke with Señor Nuncio.
In these moments, by express indication of the Congregation for Bishops, Bishop Barros is doing the month of Spiritual Exercises in Spain. I do not know if it will pass through Rome at the end, but I will warn Cardinal Ouellet and the suggestion that you make.
I thank you once again for your openness and frankness in expressing your opinion and feeling: it is the only way to work for the Church, whose care the Lord has entrusted to the Bishops.
I ask you, please, to pray for me, because I need it.
May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin take care of you.
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