Pope regrets word choice on abuse in Chile, but stands by contested bishop


January 22, 2018

By Inés San Martín

Returning to Rome from a sometimes contentious six-day trip to Latin America, Pope Francis said he regretted the language he used along the way regarding sexual abuse victims who have accused a Chilean bishop of covering up their abuse, but did not back down from his support for that bishop.

Francis said he’s convinced of the innocence of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused by survivors of covering up cases of sexual abuse by infamous Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty by a church process in 2011.

Barros “will stay in his post, I cannot condemn him without evidence,” the pope said during the flight from Peru to Rome.

“I personally am convinced that he’s innocent,” Francis said.

The pope did, however, express regret for how he made that point in Chile.

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