Chile: Pope Francis stirs outrage with 'slander' comment
Saturday, January 20, 2018
On Thursday, Roman Catholic Pope Francis, on a tour of South America, spoke to the press in Chile on his last day in the country. When asked by a local journalist about Juan Barros, who has been accused of covering up sexual abuse by another priest, the Pope responded: "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I'll speak. [...] There is not one shred of proof against him. It's all [slander]. Is that clear?"
According to multiple news outlets, this did not sit well with many Chileans. The aforementioned Bishop Juan Barros was the protégé of priest Vatican of dozens of abuses against minors since the 1980s. Barros, who rose above his mentor, is alleged to have protected Karadima for years.who was found guilty in 2011 by the
Victims of Karadima decried the Pope's remark. "We feel absolutely betrayed by what Pope Francis said, and about his incoherence, because he asks for forgiveness on one side and then says victims are lying," said Juan Carlos Cruz in an interview on Friday. "We will not be bullied by anybody no matter how powerful they are." Cruz has alleged that Barros was present when Karadima groped and kissed him.
James Hamilton, who also says he was a victim, told a press conference: "What the Pope has done today is offensive and painful, and not only against us, but against everyone seeking to end the abuses".
Bishop Alejandro Goic spoke of Barros in a radio interview: "It left me with a bitter taste that a brother of mine occupied a leading role [in the abuse scandal] that was not good." Not all were against the Pope. Bishop Santiago Silva stated, "Without reserve, we support what Pope Francis said".
Earlier in Pope Francis's visit to Chile he met with victims of abuse by clergy. Francis also said: "I cannot help but express the pain and shame, shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children by church ministers," while speaking in
- Jorge Poblete and Tracy Wilkinson. "Some in Chile feel betrayed as pope scolds critics of bishop's response to alleged sexual abuse" — , January 19, 2018
- Bill Chappell. "Pope Francis Accuses Bishop's Critics Of Slander, Riling Sex Abuse Victims In Chile" — , January 19, 2018
- "Pope Francis 'slander' comment angers Chile abuse victims" — , January 19, 2018