Vatican to probe Chile clergy abuse

The Telegraph India
January 31, 2018

Vatican City: Pope Francis is sending the Catholic Church's top investigator into sexual abuse by clergy to Chile to probe a bishop accused of covering up crimes against minors, in a remarkable turnaround only days after the pope defended him.

A Vatican statement on Tuesday said new information had emerged about Bishop Juan Barros and that Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta would go to "listen to those who want to submit elements in their possession".

The statement, which gave no details, was a stunning U-turn for the pope, who on January 21 told reporters aboard his plane returning from Latin America he was sure Barros was innocent and that the Vatican had received no concrete evidence against him. It was Scicluna who doggedly uncovered evidence of sexual abuse that led to the removal of the late Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, in 2005.

Controversy over Barros, bishop of the city of Osorno in Chile's south, dominated Francis' recent trip, with critics accusing the pope of not understanding the depth of the crisis in the South American country and of dismissing his accusers.

Barros has been accused of protecting his former mentor, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years.

Karadima denies the allegations, and Barros said he was unaware of any wrongdoing.

Barros and his main accusers were not available to comment on the latest twist of a long-running saga that has gripped Chile and severely hurt the Church's prestige there.


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