Vatican: No ‘objective reasons’ to preclude appointment of Chilean bishop

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Mar. 31, 2015

VATICAN CITY The Vatican has responded to public outcry against Pope Francis’ naming of a new bishop in Chile accused of covering up sexual abuse by saying the bishop’s candidature was “carefully examined” prior to his appointment but no “objective reasons” were found to preclude it.

Marking a rare reaction to public criticism against a bishop’s appointment, the Vatican press office released a 19-word statement Tuesday in three languages regarding Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

Installed March 21 as head of the diocese of Osorno, Chile amid protests in the cathedral, Barros is accused by Chilean clergy sexual abuse survivors of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima when Barros was a priest.

Members of Francis’ own Vatican commission on clergy sexual abuse have also criticized the appointment, saying in NCR interviews last week they are concerned and surprised at the pope’s decision.

The Vatican’s statement Tuesday, made by Holy See Press Office Vice Director Passionist Fr. Ciro Benedettini, does not address any specific criticisms.

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