Mar 28, 2015
LIMA, Peru — Perhaps none of Pope Francis’ vaunted reforms of the Catholic establishment has been as urgent or necessary as his unveiling of a “zero tolerance” policy towards pedophile priests.
For decades, child sex abuse scandals, from Poland to the pontiff’s homeland of Argentina, have dogged the church. Victims have gone public and priests have been defrocked and jailed, yet still new allegations of this vile crime continue to surface.
Since being named pope in March 2013, Francis has made all the right noises, describing pedophilia as satanic and unveiling a new high level commission reporting directly to him in a bid to draw lessons and prevent future abuses.
Yet those fine words and gestures have all been called into question by the pope’s controversial appointment of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up the activities of one of the Catholic Church’s most notorious child abusers.
Earlier this month, amid chaotic scenes as hundreds of protesters shoved their way into the cathedral, Juan Barros took up his post as Bishop of Osorno, a sleepy provincial capital 600 miles south of Santiago.
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