“Pope Francis meets with Chilean leaders amid sex abuse controversy” & related articles

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Christian Today staff writer 09 March 2015

Pope Francis travelled to Chile last week to meet with Church leaders amid controversy over a recent appointment.

Monsignor Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib’s successor, Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, was appointed in January, but has faced a firestorm of criticism.

The bishop is accused of covering up years of paedophilia allegations against Rev Fernando Karadima, who was sanctioned by the Church in 2011 for child sexual abuse. A judge determined that the charges against Karadima were truthful, although the statute of limitations had expired.

The Osorno diocese has been run by Bishop Barros since 2013, when the prior bishop was transferred. Francis chose Barros to take over the position permanently two months ago.

In response to the appointment, 1,300 Catholic followers, 51 of the country’s 120 lawmakers, and as many as 35 priests protested, and urged the pontiff to reconsider. Barros has not responded to the controversy, and details of Francis’ meeting with Garib have not been released. Bishop Madrid was scheduled to be formally installed on March 21.

No bishop has been publicly sanctioned for covering up sexual abuses within the Catholic Church, although Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission has stated that bishop accountability is one of their priorities.

The pope recently sent an investigator to Kansas City, Missouri to examine charges that a local bishop covered up a priest’s sexual misconduct.

Bishop Robert Finn pled guilty and was sentenced to two years of probation in 2012 for failing to report that Father Shawn Ratigan had hundreds of pornographic photos of children on his computer. Finn admitted to knowing about the photos, but reassigned the priest instead of reporting him. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The Associated Press reported that the sex abuse advisory commission is currently drafting a sanction proposal for the pope to consider.


Pope Francis Meets With Outgoing Chilean Bishop Ahead Of Controversial Appointment

International Business Times

  @ZoeMintz z.mintz@ibtimes.com on March 06 2015 5:20 PM EST


Pope Francis met with a Chilean bishop on Friday whose successor has been criticized for covering up sexual abuse. Reuters

Pope Francis met with the outgoing bishop of a Chilean diocese on Friday after the appointment of his successor received opposition from clergy and lawmakers who accuse him of covering up sexual abuse by one of the country’s most prominent priests, The Associated Press reported.

No details were released about the meeting between Francis and Monsignor Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib. He was the temporary head of the Osorno diocese since 2013. When Garib resigned in January, the pope appointed Bishop Juan Barros Madrid to run the post permanently. He is scheduled to be installed on March 21.

Chilean priests and lawmakers have protested Madrid’s appointment, claiming he helped cover up the actions of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a well-known priest who abused teenage boys about 20 years ago at his residence in Santiago. In 2011, the Vatican sanctioned Karadima, then 80, by demanding he spend the rest of his life in “penitence and prayer.” While he was brought to trial in Chile, Karadima’s case was thrown out since it exceeded the country’s statute of limitations on the crime, but the judge deemed the allegations to be true.

Chilean lawmakers have appealed to the Ivo Scapalo, the papal nuncio in Chile, demanding the appointment be rescinded. About 50 of them signed a petition asking for Madrid’s resignation. Another petition was established by 1,000 residents in Osorno making the same demands.

During his tenure, Francis has been criticized by victims’ groups for the Vatican’s failure to reprimand abusive priests and the clergy who supervise them. In May 2014, he created a commission to address sexual abuse within the church. In February, the commission met for the first time where members drafted policies to hold bishops accountable for protecting sexually abusive priests.

Marie Collins, an Irish woman who was abused more than 50 years ago by a hospital chaplain, sits on the commission. After its first meeting she expressed hope the body will find a solution to the crisis that has plagued the church for decades.

“The commission is working on a means by which bishops can be made accountable,” Collins told the National Catholic Reporter. “And if that goes forward … there will be an answer to this problem.”


Chile priests ask Pope Francis to reconsider nomination of bishop tainted by sex abuse case

Fox News LAtino

  • Vatican Pope_Vros.jpg

    Pope Francis touches his forehead during his weekly general audience, in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A group of Chilean priests on Thursday demanded the resignation of a bishop, accusing him of covering up for a prominent priest who sexually abused altar boys.

The priests and deacons in the southern city of Osorno made their request to Ivo Scapalo, the papal nuncio in Chile. They said newly appointed bishop Juan Barros Madrid covered up for the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Victims have said Karadima began abusing them at his residence at the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Santiago about 20 years ago, when they were between 14 and 17 years old.

The Vatican sanctioned Karadima by ordering him to a life of “penitence and prayer” in 2011. A Chilean judge later dismissed a criminal case because the statute of limitations had expired, but she determined the abuse allegations were truthful.

Barros, who was close to Karadima, was appointed bishop by Pope Francis in early January.

About 50 Chilean lawmakers signed a petition this week asking the Vatican for his resignation, and more than 1,000 residents of Osorno have signed a similar petition protesting his nomination.


Chilean lawmakers ask Pope to reverse bishop appointment due to sexual abuse allegations

Fifty-one members of the Chilean Parliament have signed a letter asking Pope Francis to reverse the appointment of the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, due to allegations of covering up sexual abuse.

MercoPress (south Atlantic News agency)

19 February 2015

Karadima, an influential octogenarian priest was found guilty in 2011 by the Vatican of committing sexual abuse and sentenced to a life of prayer and penance.

Presented on Monday for delivery to Rome, the letter accuses the new bishop of the Osorno diocese, 940 kilometers south of Santiago, of covering up sexual abuses committed by the Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.

”The letter aims to condemn acts of sexual abuse in the Church, as the Pope has done (and) we believe that he must have sufficient information to review this nomination,” legislator Fidel Espinoza told Bio-Bio radio.

The appointment was announced by the Holy See on Jan. 10.

Karadima, an influential octogenarian priest was found guilty in 2011 by the Vatican of committing sexual abuse and sentenced to a life of prayer and penance.

Chilean justice authorities determined that Karadima sexually abused four parishioners between 1981 and 1995, when three of them (Juan Carlos Cruz, Jimmy Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo) were minors, although he can no longer be charged for the crime due to the statute of limitations.

In a letter sent Feb. 3 to the papal nuncio in Chile, Ivo Scapolo, Cruz, who resides in the United States, claimed that Barros threatened seminarians, covered up sexual abuses and broke the seal of confession.

5 Responses to “Pope Francis meets with Chilean leaders amid sex abuse controversy” & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    First, I don’t believe, as one report above suggests, Pope Francis travelled to Chile to deal with this matter. In fact, I am quite certain that he did not.

    That aside, it is encouraging to see that many priests, lawmakers and hundreds of other Roman Catholics are objecting to the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid as Bishop of the Osorno Diocese.

    Will their voices be heard? We shall see…

  2. Agathe says:

    I am also encouraged about opening up of the issues in South America…..to see people, including priests, coming forward to speak out about a prominent priest – this was rarely heard of before. Tells me that Pope Francis may be having real influence there. I even more applaud the victims for coming forward… I heard, a few years ago, reported on a Vatican insiders blog…that when the truth comes out about the extent of pedophile priests in S. America…it will rock the church to the foundations. Some say this was the real reason Pope Benedict left in a hurry…perhaps we can just stay tuned. And for the sake of all: may the truth come out.

  3. Leona says:

    I think Pope Francis is only acting due to the heroic efforts of abuse survivors such as my good friend Juan Carlos Cruz Chellew and others. His persistence, perseverance and those of other survivors of abuse by Chilean priest Karadima helped others take notice of what was happening in South America. His book el Fin de Le Innocence published last fall quickly rose to best seller status and his story is now being made into a motion picture, El Bosque. When Pope Francis was appointed I felt like there would be an opportunity to make a difference. When I spoke with Juan Carlos he expressed doubt because Pope Francis (as Cardinal) had known of his case personally and done nothing except protect Karadima. I believe it is because of these brave survivors risking all to tell their stories and bring truth and justice to light that Pope Francis is being forced to take any action.

    • Sylvia says:

      He hasn’t done anything yet that would constitute ‘acting’ Leona. He had a meeting – that’s it to date, or, at least that’s all we know of publicly. I’m still watching and waiting.

  4. Leona says:

    True that, Sylvia. I was giving the benefit of the doubt that action would be taken. You’ve been at this long enough to see through the rhetoric. I think I have to be reminded to take off my faint rose-tinted glasses. I know Juan Carlos sent a letter off to the Pope the other day. I wonder if he’ll receive a response.

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