The decision was announced in a press conference through a communiqué handed over by Fernando Ramos Perez, one of the seven auxiliary bishops of Santiago and secretary of the Episcopal Conference, and Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz, bishop of San Bernardo.
While it was not immediately clear if the pope would accept all or any of the resignations from the prelates, who hold all the top jobs in Chile's Roman Catholic Church, reports indicate the bishops would stay in their roles until the pope makes his decision.
"We have put our positions in the hands of the Holy Father and will leave it to him to decide freely for each of us," the bishops said in a joint statement read out by a spokesman for the churchmen, Bishop Fernando Ramos.
"We want to ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the pope, to the people of God and our country for the serious errors and omissions committed by us," the statement continued.
After thanking Pope Francis for 'listening as a father and for his fraternal correction', the prelates also 'asked for forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the Pope, to the people of God and to our country for the serious mistakes and omissions committed.'
We thank the victims for their perseverance and courage, despite the huge personal, spiritual, social and family difficulties that they have faced, along with frequent misunderstandings and attacks by the very ecclesiastical community, the press release said.
Once again, we beg for your forgiveness and help to continue to advance on the path of healing to cicatrize the wounds, the document stressed.
- Countries: Latin America