New evidence shows that Pope Francis may have helped cover up the actions of an alleged pedophile priest in Chile.
Is Pope Francis covering for pedophile priests in Chile? Despite Pope Francis’ claims that no victims of a Chilean pedophile priest had come forward to accuse the Catholic Church of a cover-up, it can now be confirmed that the pontiff did in fact receive a victim’s letter in 2015.
Members of the church’s own sex-abuse commission say Pope Francis received an eight-page letter from Juan Carlos Cruz that graphically detailed how Rev. Fernando Karadima allegedly sexually abused him. And how other Chilean clergy allegedly turned a blind eye.
This is in sharp contrast to Pope Francis’ claims. And it calls into question the Pope’s long-held claim that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups.
Pope Francis’ Visit to Chile
The scandal exploded in January when Pope Francis visited Chile. On one hand, the pope met with survivors who were sexually abused by priests; weeping and apologizing for the “irreparable damage” they suffered.
At the same time, Pope Francis vigorously defended Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused of covering up the abuse by Rev. Karadima. In fact, the pope accused victims of sexual abuse in Chile of slander, saying the attacks on Bishop Barros amounted to “calumny” because there is “not a shred of evidence against him.” The pope added, “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak.”
We now know they have.
Rev. Fernando Karadima is Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest. In 2011, he was barred from all pastoral duties, with the Vatican prescribing him a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for molesting children.
It’s doubtful a letter of proof was even necessary. The emeritus archbishop of Santiago, who is a top papal adviser, has admitted he heard that Karadima was a pedophile but refused to remove him from ministry.
Bishop Barris Accused of Cover-up
The Barros affair comes after Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno Chile in 2015. This despite objections from the leadership of Chile’s local priests. Barros was a protégé of Karadima and, according to Cruz and other victims, witnessed the abuse and did absolutely nothing.
Other leaders of the church in Chile also dismissed Cruz and other victims as liars. As did the Vatican’s own ambassador in Santiago, who refused their requests to meet with Barros both before and after he was appointed.
Even when the pope’s trip to South America was over and he was flying home, he doubled down on his denial, telling a reporter “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.”
For his part, Barros denies ever witnessing any abuse or covering it up.
“I never knew anything about, nor ever imagined, the serious abuses which that priest committed against the victims,” Adding, “…and I have never been convicted by any tribunal of such things.”
Meanwhile, Karadima, now 87, lives comfortably in Santiago in a home for elderly priests. He has refused all media requests.