What makes the Barros case so important is that if the pope removes him from office, it will be the first time a Catholic prelate has been explicitly cashiered because he covered up abuse by others.
Pope Francis' letter asked "forgiveness of all those I have offended" and said he hoped to "be able to do it personally in the coming weeks."
Pope Francis admitted that he had badly misjudged the situation in Chile, or as he put it: “I fell into serious errors in the evaluation and perception of the situation, due especially to the lack of true and balanced information.”
Msgr. Carlo Cappella, who had served in the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., has been under criminal investigation since his recall from the U.S. last September.
Catholic leaders say they support abolishing time limits for criminal prosecution and expanding background checks for people who work with children. But they also point to an existing law that protects public institutions from “look back” lawsuits and say that it creates a double standard.