Who didn’t see this coming??
ON FRIDAY EVENING, OVER 200 PEOPLE MARCHED IN PROTEST OF POPE FRANCIS’S APPOINTMENT OF THE CHILEAN BISHOP JUAN BARROS.
OSORNO – The march, named the ‘Marcha de los paraguas’, took place in Osorno in the Los Lagos region as a protest against the appointment of Juan Barros as bishop of the city of Osorno due to his alleged involvement in child sex abuse cases. Barros has been accused of witnessing and covering up the abuse of minors committed by Fernando Karadima, a Catholic priest who served in the Parroquia del Bosque assisting some of the most influential and elite families in Santiago. In 2011, Karadima was found guilty of the charges brought against him and was ordered by the Vatican to retire and be banned from ever practicing as an ecclesiastical figure again.
In early February of this year, CIPER published a letter written by Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of abuse in the Parroquia del Bosque. In the letter that he wrote and that was sent to the apostolic nunciature in Chile, Carlos Cruz makes reference to the involvement of Juan Barros in covering up sexual abuse and his uncomfortably close relationship with Fernando Karadima; “I would like to refer to the appointment of the bishop Juan Barros to the diocese of Osorno. Monsignor, I would like this to be a formal complaint and testimony about something that is a great sadness to me due to everything I have personally gone through and that many others went through with bishop Barros […] Monsignor, these are things that I saw, heard and happened to me. They are not second hand accounts.”
Understandably, many in Osorno are strongly opposed to Barros’s appointment as bishop. On Friday, parishioners and laypeople marched from the local Plaza de Armas to the doors of the Catedral de Osorno chanting “¡Fuera Barros!”
Soyosorno reported that catholic educative communities in the city such as Santa Cecilia, San Mateo and Santa Marta were also present during the protest, totaling the number of people present to around 400.
Following the protest in Osorno, on Sunday four members of Pope Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission traveled to the Vatican to express their doubts on the appointment of Juan Barros as bishop. Marie Collins was in Rome along with three other members of the commission including the cardinal Sean O’Malley, the representative pontiff of sexual abuse, in order to relay their concerns to the pope.
In regards to the relationship between Barros and Karadima, Collins stated that if Barros did not consider Karadima’s behavior to be unacceptable “then he doesn’t understand child abuse. And if he doesn’t understand child abuse there’s a child protection concern about him being in charge of a diocese.”
Emol reported that the deputy director of the press office of the Holy See, Ciro Benedettin, explained that the Congregation of Bishops “had carefully studied the candidature of the prelate” and had not found any reason to not name him as bishop, a decision that has been greatly contested.