A Chilean lay Catholic group has sharply criticized Pope Francis for defending Bishop Juan Barros while claiming he had no knowledge of sex abuse charges involving a cover-up by the bishop.
Juan Carlos Claret, a spokesman for the association Laicos de Osorno, said on Monday that the pope would have to explain “who decided to constantly discredit the testimony of the victims,” since it is no longer “possible to maintain, as some do, that the pope didn’t know and that he had slanted information.”
On Monday, the Associated Press (AP) revealed that Pope Francis heard about the abuse problem in graphic detail from a victim in 2015, despite the pope’s recent insistence that he had no knowledge of the allegations.
Sex abuse victims claim that Bishop Barros not only defended Father Fernando Karadima, a priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for the sexual abuse of minors, but that Barros had first-hand knowledge of the abuse, having personally been a party to it. – READ MORE
Things keep getting worse for Pope Francis.
Late last month, the pope reiterated his defense of a Chilean bishop, contending that he had never received any complaints that the prelate knew of abuse by the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.
But on Monday, The Associated Press reported that the pope personally received an eight-page letter in 2015 from one of the victims. The letter explicitly detailed abuses the victim said were witnessed by other clerics, including Juan Barros Madrid, who was appointed bishop of Osorno, Chile, that year.
The report that one of the pope’s top advisers had personally handed him the letter has revived accusations by advocates for abuse victims that the 81-year-old pontiff cannot, or will not, understand an issue that has long roiled the Roman Catholic Church.
“There is what you might call a willful blindness,” said Peter Saunders, a former member of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, whose mandate expired in December. “It’s almost angry unwillingness to accept what’s in front of him, because to acknowledge it is to acknowledge that the church still has to clean up its act. He’s been behaving like a spouse who is told that their spouse is abusing their kids, and can’t believe it.” – READ MORE
Pope Francis cast “fake news” in theological terms on Wednesday, suggesting that it was responsible for Adam and Eve’s original sin in the Garden of Eden.
“We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place,” Francis continued, making reference to the story of Adam and Eve in the Old Testament of the Bible.
“This was the strategy employed by the ‘crafty serpent’ in the Book of Genesis, who, at the dawn of humanity, created the first fake news which began the tragic history of human sin,” Francis said. “By listening to the deceiver and letting herself be taken in by his version of the facts, the woman is misled.” – READ MORE
Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander Thursday, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.
Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”
The pope’s remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes in 2011. A Chilean judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop criminal charges against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
“As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all,” tweeted Barros’ most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz. “These people are truly crazy, and the pontiff talks about atonement to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.” – READ MORE