Pope Lauds Peru’s Young, but Stays Silent on Church Sex Abuse

New York Times

January 21, 2018

By Marcelo Rochabrún and Andrea Zarate

On the last day of his visit here, Pope Francis told Peruvians that they lived in a “sainted land” and commended young people for keeping their faith in the church.

But he did not address the elephant in the room: a scandal involving a powerful Roman Catholic group here, where dozens of former members say they were physically and sexually abused after dedicating their lives to prayer and worship.

The issue of sexual abuse in the church has loomed large over Francis’ weeklong visit to Chile and Peru, where he discussed the plights of indigenous populations in the jungle and of those recovering from catastrophic flooding in Peru’s sandy desert coast.

Francis did confront the issue of abuse last week in Chile, where accusations against the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a pedophile priest, have damaged the church. But after first issuing an apology for the abuse, Francis called accusations of a cover-up by a bishop “all slander.” Those remarks prompted a rare rebuke from Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who is charged with working to improve the church’s handling of child abuse cases.

In Peru, Francis was mute on the subject.

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