Vatican Defends Naming Bishop Tied to Chilean Sex Scandal
Juan Barros, a newly appointed bishop who has been accused of covering up for disgraced pedophile priest Fernando Karadima, has the full backing of the Vatican.
Rev. Ciro Benedettini, as reported by The Associated Press, announced on Tuesday that the Holy See's Congregation for Bishops examined Barros's candidature thoroughly and in the end did not find any "objective reasons to preclude the appointment."
Juan Barros’s recent installation as a Chilean bishop has been met with much opposition.
There have been violent protests as well as a boycott participated in by many of the diocese's priests.
Barros has stated he was totally unaware of any Karadima-related sexual abuses until reading about them in 2010.
Barros, a former Chilean military chaplain, was a protege of Fernando Karadima, a priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors in 2011.
On March 21, hundreds of demonstrators went into a cathedral in the southern Chile city of Osorno in an effort to interrupt Juan Barros’s installation ceremony.
The protesters, who accused Barros of covering up Karadimac's sexual abuses, blocked his way and shouted “Barros, get out of the city!”
As quoted in the New York Times, Juan Carlos Cruz, a 51-year old man who claims to have been abused by Karadima in the 1980s, spoke of his frustration with the pope’s decision to install Barros, saying: “We are used to the blows by the Chilean Catholic hierarchy, but it’s especially hurtful when the slap in the face comes from Pope Francis himself.”
“We hoped he was different,” said Cruz.
As reported in the Catholic Herald, Marie Collins, a member of Francis’s child protection commission as well as an abuse survivor, said that she could not fathom how Pope Francis could have appointed Barros in light of his connection to Karadima.