“Pope begs for forgiveness as he admits making ‘grave errors’ in defending a Chilean bishop accused of ignoring child abuse” & related articles and VIDEO

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The Daily Mail

By Iain Burns For Mailonline and Wires

  • Church in Chile has been waiting for a letter about the sex abuse written by Pope
  • Follows scandal over Pope’s defence of bishop accused of witnessing sex abuse
  • He wrote the letter after receiving a report from Archbishop Charles Scicluna

The Pope has admitted he made ‘grave errors’ in the Chile sex abuse scandal and begged for forgiveness as he invited victims to Rome.

In an extraordinary letter, Francis also summoned Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.

Francis blamed a lack of ‘true and balanced information’ in his missteps in judging Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest.

He strongly defended Barros despite accusations by victims that the Chilean priest witnessed and ignored their abuse.

Francis sent Scicluna to investigate allegations of sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of the Rev Fernando Karadima (pictured)

Francis sent Scicluna to investigate allegations of sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of the Rev Fernando Karadima (pictured)

Francis sent the Vatican’s most respected sex abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to investigate the scandal.

While the pope’s letter does not reveal Mr Scicluna’s conclusions, Francis made clear the bishops needed to ‘repair the scandal where possible and re-establish justice’.

The Catholic Church in the South American country had been bracing for revelations in the letter.

Francis sent Scicluna to investigate allegations of sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of the Rev Fernando Karadima.

Karadima was a charismatic preacher who was removed from ministry by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors and sentenced in 2011 to a lifetime of penance and prayer.

Karadima had long been a darling of the Catholic hierarchy, and his victims have accused church leaders of covering up his crimes to protect the church’s reputation.

Scicluna and his colleague, the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, spent nearly two weeks in Chile and New York earlier this year interviewing Karadima’s victims, who for years have denounced Barros’ silence and were stunned by Francis’ strong defense of him during his January visit to Chile.

Many of Chile’s bishops, and members of Francis’ own sex abuse advisory board, had questioned Barros’ suitability to lead a diocese given claims by Karadima’s victims that Barros stood by and did nothing while Karadima groped them.

Francis overrode their concerns and appointed Barros bishop of the southern Chilean diocese of Osorno in 2015, saying the church had investigated the claims against him and found them to be baseless.

Francis called the victims’ accusations against Barros ‘calumny’ and twice refused his resignation.

But following an outcry in Chile during his January trip and suggestions that Francis didn’t have all the information, Francis dispatched Scicluna to get the bottom of the scandal.

Scicluna, long a hero to sex abuse victims and a thorn in the side of church leaders who oppose his tough line against pedophiles, briefed Francis on his interviews last month.

Expectations in Chile were high following Scicluna’s visit, which prolonged by his emergency gall bladder surgery there.

That extra time enabled Scicluna and Bertomeu, an official in the Vatican office that handles abuse cases, to hear from the victims of other sexual predators.

The implication was that the problem that has devastated the Catholic Church’s credibility in Chile wasn’t just about Barros or Karadima.

Victims say the Barros affair is merely emblematic of a culture in the Chilean church that covers up for abusers, gives them minimal sanctions or moves them around rather than adopt the ‘one-strike-and-you’re-out’ policy adopted by US bishops.

There are currently five Chilean dioceses that need new bishops, including Santiago, where the archbishop, Cardinal Riccardo Ezzati, 76, is due to retire.

That sets the stage for a possible new course in Chile if Francis chooses to take it.

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By Associated Press

3:09 PM EDT

 

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has admitted he made “grave errors” in judgment in Chile’s sex abuse scandal and invited the abuse victims he had discredited to Rome to beg their forgiveness.

In an extraordinary letter published Wednesday, Francis also summoned Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.

Francis blamed a lack of “true and balanced information” in his missteps in judging Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest. Francis strongly defended Barros, despite accusations by victims that the Chilean priest witnessed and ignored their abuse.

Francis sent the Vatican’s most respected sex abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to investigate the scandal. While the pope’s letter doesn’t reveal Scicluna’s conclusions, Francis made clear the bishops needed to “repair the scandal where possible and re-establish justice.”

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Pope admits he made ‘grave errors’ in Chile sex abuse case

Associated Press

11 April 2018

By NICOLE WINFIELD and EVA VERGARA

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis admitted Wednesday he made “grave errors” in judgment in Chile’s sex abuse scandal and invited the victims he had discredited to Rome to beg their forgiveness.

In an extraordinary public letter, Francis also summoned all of Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.

The Vatican orders up such emergency visits only on rare occasions, when Vatican intervention is urgently required, such as when American bishops were summoned in 2002 after the clerical sex abuse scandal exploded in the U.S. and in 2010 when Irish bishops received a comprehensive Vatican dressing down for their botched handling of abuse cases.

Francis blamed a lack of “truthful and balanced information” for his missteps in judging the case of Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima. Francis strongly defended the bishop during his January visit to Chile despite accusations by victims that Barros had witnessed and ignored their abuse.

In Chile and during an airborne press conference returning to Rome, Francis accused the victims of “calumny” for pressing their case against Barros, demanded they present “proof” of their claims and revealed he had twice rejected Barros’ resignation.

“I am convinced he is innocent,” the pope insisted.

After causing an outcry, Francis sent the Vatican’s most respected sex abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to look into the scandal.

While his letter didn’t reveal his ultimate conclusions about Barros, Francis made clear that he and the bishops have a lot of work to do to turn the church around.

In words that laid bare his simmering anger, Francis said they must “re-establish confidence in the church, confidence that was broken by our errors and sins, and heal the wounds that continue to bleed in Chilean society.”

Karadima was a charismatic preacher who was removed from the ministry by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors and sentenced in 2011 to a lifetime of penance and prayer. Karadima had long been a darling of the Chilean hierarchy, and his victims have accused church leaders of covering up his crimes to protect the church’s reputation.

Scicluna and his colleague, the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, spent nearly two weeks in Chile and New York earlier this year interviewing Karadima’s victims, who for years have denounced Barros’ silence and were stunned by Francis’ strong defense of him.

In his letter, Francis thanked the 64 people who testified and had the courage to bare the “wounds of their souls” for the sake of truth. After reading the 2,300-page dossier his envoys prepared, Francis affirmed the victims “spoke in a stark way, without additives or sweeteners, of many crucified lives.”

“I confess this caused me pain and shame,” he wrote.

“For my part, I recognize — and so I want it to be faithfully transmitted — that I have fallen in grave mistakes of judgment and perception of the situation, especially due to the lack of truthful and balanced information,” Francis wrote. “From now on I ask forgiveness of all those I offended and I hope to be able to do it personally in the coming weeks.”

In a statement, Barros’ three main accusers said they appreciated Francis request for forgiveness and were weighing his invitation to meet. They said they would continue fighting for reparation and forgiveness “until zero tolerance about abuse and cover-up in the church becomes a reality.”

Many of Chile’s bishops, and members of Francis’ own sex abuse advisory board, had questioned Barros’ suitability to lead a diocese given claims by Karadima’s victims that Barros stood by and did nothing while Karadima groped them.

Francis overrode their concerns and appointed Barros bishop of the southern Chilean diocese of Osorno in 2015, saying the church had investigated the claims against him and found them to be baseless.

Osorno’s lay Catholics and many Osorno priests rejected him, and they greeted Francis’ letter Wednesday with graciousness, accepting his request for forgiveness but renewing their demand for Barros’ removal.

The head of the Chilean bishops’ conference, Monsignor Santiago Silva, insisted the Chilean church had provided only truthful information to Francis about Barros. But, he added, “obviously we didn’t do everything we should have done.”

Other clerics more favorable to Barros had Francis’ ear: the Vatican ambassador, who has long been hostile to Barros’ accusers; the retired archbishop of Santiago, who has accused Cruz of being a liar and “serpent”; and an old Spanish Jesuit friend who evaluated Barros years ago.

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Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield reported this story at the Vatican and AP writer Eva Vergara reported from Punta de Tralca, Chile.

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‘Sorry’ Pope Francis invites Chile sex abuse victims to Vatican

BBC

11 April 2018

The Pope has said he made “serious mistakes” over a case of alleged child abuse by Catholic clergy in Chile.

In a letter to the South American country’s bishops, Francis said he felt “sadness and shame” over comments earlier this year in which he accused the victims of committing slander.

The letter, released by the Church in Chile, said the Pope would invite some of the victims to Rome.

A Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, is accused of hiding abuses by a priest.

Pope Francis made his controversial remarks during a visit to Chile in January.

Defending Bishop Barros, he said: “There is not a single piece of proof against him. Everything is slander.”

Bishop Barros has not been accused of abuse, but of being present when another priest, Fernando Karadima, molested young boys in Santiago, starting in the 1980s.

Father Karadima never faced prosecution as too much time had passed, but the judge who heard victims’ testimony described them as “truthful and reliable”.

The Pope’s comments in January prompted an angry response from some of the victims. They told reporters that the Pope’s demand that they provide evidence was “offensive and unacceptable”.

At the end of his Latin American trip, the Pope apologised by saying he realised his words had hurt many. But he reiterated his belief that Bishop Barros was innocent.

In the letter released by the Chilean Church on Wednesday, the Pope says he “made serious mistakes in assessing and perceiving the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information”.

He said he hoped he could apologise personally to the victims, and invited them to come to the Vatican over the next few weeks.

After his trip, Pope Francis sent Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna to investigate allegations of a Church cover-up of the abuse in Chile.

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Pope apologizes for ‘serious mistakes’ in judging Chilean abuse cases

Catholic News Service

4.11.2018 3:26 PM ET

By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a letter to the bishops of Chile, Pope Francis apologized for underestimating the seriousness of the sexual abuse crisis in the country following a recent investigation into allegations concerning Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.

The pope said he made “serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information.”

“I ask forgiveness of all those I have offended and I hope to be able to do it personally in the coming weeks,” the pope said in the letter, which was released by the Vatican April 11. Several survivors apparently have been invited to the Vatican to meet the pope.

Abuse victims alleged that Bishop Barros — then a priest — had witnessed their abuse by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. In 2011, Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys. Father Karadima denied the charges; he was not prosecuted civilly because the statute of limitations had run out.

Protesters and victims said Bishop Barros is guilty of protecting Father Karadima and was physically present while some of the abuse was going on.

During his visit to Chile in January, Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the sexual abuses committed by some priests in Chile.

“I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some of the ministers of the church,” he said.

However, speaking to reporters, he pledged his support for Bishop Barros and said: “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny.”

He later apologized to the victims and admitted that his choice of words wounded many.

A short time later, the Vatican announced Pope Francis was sending a trusted investigator to Chile to listen to people with information about Bishop Barros.

The investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the board handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes. The archbishop also had 10 years of experience as the Vatican’s chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases at the doctrinal congregation.

Pope Francis said Archbishop Scicluna and his aide, Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, heard the testimony of 64 people and presented him with more than 2,300 pages of documentation. Not all of the witnesses spoke about Father Karadima and Bishop Barros; several of them gave testimony about abuse alleged to have occurred at a Marist Brothers’ school.

After a “careful reading” of the testimonies, the pope said, “I believe I can affirm that all the testimonies collected speak in a brutal way, without additives or sweeteners, of many crucified lives and, I confess, it has caused me pain and shame.”

The pope said he was convening a meeting in Rome with the 34 Chilean bishops to discuss the findings of the investigations and his own conclusions “without prejudices nor preconceived ideas, with the single objective of making the truth shine in our lives.”

Pope Francis said he wanted to meet with the bishops to discern immediate and long-term steps to “re-establish ecclesial communion in Chile in order to repair the scandal as much as possible and re-establish justice.”

Archbishop Scicluna and Father Bertomeu, the pope said, had been overwhelmed by the “maturity, respect and kindness” of the victims who testified.

“As pastors,” the pope told the bishops, “we must express the same feeling and cordial gratitude to those who, with honesty (and) courage” requested to meet with the envoys and “showed them the wounds of their soul.”

Following the release of Pope Francis’ letter, Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales, president of the bishops’ conference and head of the military ordinariate, said the bishops of Chile would travel to the Vatican in the third week of May.

The bishops, he said, shared in the pope’s pain.

“We have not done enough,” he said in a statement. “Our commitment is that this does not happen again.”

– – –

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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 America

11 April 2018

In a letter to Chilean bishops, Pope Francis says he hopes to meet with Chilean sex abuse victims. “I apologize to all those who I have offended,” he said. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

In what has the appearance of the beginning of an earthquake in the Chilean church, Pope Francis has sent a strong letter to the Chilean bishops in which he speaks of his “pain and shame” on receiving the report on the abuse scandal in Chile from Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta. He had sent Archbishop Scicluna to listen to the victims of abuse last February.

In the three-page letter, he admits his own “serious mistakes” in dealing with this scandal and asks for forgiveness and goes on to take two dramatic steps: He summons the entire Chilean hierarchy to meet him in the Vatican and invites the three main accusers of Bishop Barros to meet him there too at a different time.

The pope admitted that he had badly misjudged the situation, or as he put it: “I fell into serious errors in the evaluation and perception of the situation, due especially to the lack of true and balanced information.”

He said, “From here on, I ask pardon of all those that I have offended, and I hope to do so personally in the coming weeks, in the meetings that I will have with representatives of the persons interviewed” by his envoys—Archbishop Scicluna and Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos.

Pope Francis said that when his envoys gave him their 2,300 page report, they told him that they “were overwhelmed with the sorrow of so many victims of grave abuses of conscience and power and, in particular, of sexual abuse committed by several consecrated persons against minors” who were denied an audience “and robbed of their innocence.” The report was based on their meetings with 64 witnesses, together with “their juridical and pastoral evaluation of the information received” during a inquiry conducted from February 17 to March 1.

Pope Francis said all this “has caused me pain and shame.”

In response he has summoned the entire Chilean hierarchy to the Vatican “to dialogue” with them about “the conclusions” of Archbishop Scicluna’s mission and “to humbly ask” their collaboration and assistance “in discerning what measures need to be taken in the short, medium and long term so as to re-establish ecclesial communion in Chile, with the aim of repairing so far as possible for the scandal, and re-establishing justice.”

The bishops said they will come in the third week of May.

Pope Francis has also invited persons from Chile to come to the Vatican to meet him, including the three main accusers of Bishop Barros, sources in Chile said. The three men, Juan Carlos Cruz, Jose Andres Murillo and James Hamilton, have accused Bishop Barros of being present when they were abused by Father Fernando Karadima. They accuse the bishop of being part of a coverup for these acts. The men have confirmed that they had received and accepted the pope’s invitation and will come to the Vatican at the end of April.

In 2011, Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys. Father Karadima denied the charges; he was not prosecuted civilly because the statute of limitations had run out.

In the letter, released to the press in Chile and in Rome, the pope warmly thanked the victims and other people for their “honesty, courage and sense of church” in coming forward and baring their souls to Archbishop Scicluna and Father Bertomeu, “who listened from the heart and with humility” to them. He also thanked these envoys for their work and news media that had acted “professionally in dealing with this so delicate case, respecting the right of the citizens to information and the good name of those that testified.”

He called on the Chilean bishops to join him in prayer and told them that his meeting with them “would be an occasion to restore confidence in the church, a confidence broken by our errors and sins, and to heal the wounds that continue to bleed in the actual situation of Chilean society.”

Pope Francis has moved quickly after receiving the report from Archbishop Scicluna, and it is clear from the letter that there is much more to come when he meets the bishops, and also the victims, in the Vatican in coming six or more weeks.

During his visit to Chile in January, Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the sexual abuses committed by some priests in Chile.

“I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some of the ministers of the church,” he said.

However, speaking to reporters, he pledged his support for Bishop Barros and said: “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny.”

He later apologized to the victims and admitted that his choice of words wounded many.

A short time later, the Vatican announced Pope Francis was sending Archbishop Scicluna, a trusted investigator, to Chile to listen to people with information about Bishop Barros.

Archbishop Scicluna is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the board handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes. The archbishop also had 10 years of experience as the Vatican’s chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases at the doctrinal congregation.

With CNS reporting

1 Response to “Pope begs for forgiveness as he admits making ‘grave errors’ in defending a Chilean bishop accused of ignoring child abuse” & related articles and VIDEO

  1. Sylvia says:

    I am happy and relieved for the unfortunately victims who were so cruelly and publicly humiliated and shamed by the Pope’s previous comments. That’s really all I can and have to say at this time.

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