EN ROUTE TO VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service
January 22, 2018
By Junno Arocho Esteves
Pope Francis apologized to victims of clergy sex abuse, saying he unknowingly wounded them by the way he defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse by his mentor.
Speaking with journalists on his flight to Rome from Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, the pope said he only realized later that his words erroneously implied that victims’ accusations are credible only with concrete proof.
“To hear that the pope says to their face, ‘Bring me a letter with proof,’ is a slap in the face,” the pope said.
Pope Francis was referring to a response he gave in Iquique, Chile, Jan. 18 when local reporters asked about his support for Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, given accusations that the bishop may have been aware of abuse perpetrated by his former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The priest was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.
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