Is Pope Francis doing enough on sex abuse? Vatican abuse commission members question case of Chilean bishop.
By Sarah Pulliam Bailey March 27
Several members of Pope Francis’s sex abuse advisory board have expressed concern over his decision to appoint a Chilean bishop despite allegations that he covered up abuse. The appointment set off dramatic protests that longtime survivor advocates say were unprecedented.
Bishop Juan Barros Madrid was installed Saturday as head of a southern Chilean diocese, which set off remarkable protests in the cathedral during his ordination ceremony. The pope naming him to bishop drew a boycott by most of the diocese’s priests and deacons. Five of the 17 members of the Vatican’s commission spoke to the Associated Press about their concerns.
The Catholic Church in the U.S. has made significant changes to prevent clergy sex abuse, but survivor advocacy groups say many countries around the world do not have the same safeguards. Sex abuse scandals began to erupt in several European countries about 2010, including Ireland and Germany.
Survivor advocates are working to develop protections in the developing world where prevention measures are not as extensive.
Barros’s appointment drew outcry by those who allege that he covered up sex abuse committed by his superior, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, in the 1980s and 1990s. A Vatican investigation found Karadima guilty in 2011 and sentenced the now-84-year-old priest to a cloistered life of “penitence and prayer.”
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