Pope writes Chile's bishops after receiving sex abuse report

Pope Francis has written a letter to Chile's bishops following a scandal over his strong defense of a bishop accused of witnessing and ignoring sex abuse by Chile's most notorious predator priest.

Jaime Coiro, spokesman for the Chilean bishops' conference, said the letter would be released later Wednesday. In a tweet, Coiro said the pope wrote it after receiving a report by Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

Francis sent Scicluna to investigate allegations of sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors.

Scicluna and his colleague, the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, spent two weeks in Chile and New York interviewing Karadima's victims, who for years have denounced Barros' silence and were stunned by Francis' defense.