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Pope's defence of Chilean bishop draws stinging rebuke from Cardinal

Pope's defence of Chilean bishop draws stinging rebuke from Cardinal
By Robert Hackwill
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Sean O'Malley of Boston says Pope Francis's insistence that the accusations of a sex abuse cover-up made against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros are "slander", causes "...great pain for survivors of sexual abuse..."


The Pope will no doubt count his Latin America trip a success, but some in Chile are upset at Francis for, at best insensitivity towards paedophile victims, and at worst, defending the indefensible.

Pope Francis has dismissed as "slander" accusations of covering up a sex scandal levelled against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros.

This angered Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley so much that on Saturday he delivered a remarkable attack on his boss, saying "It is understandable" that comments made by the pope in Chile on Thursday were "a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator."

The Pope claimed publicly there was "no evidence" against Barros, whom he appointed to head a small remote diocese in Chile in 2015. Barros's former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima, was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years.

After high hopes from campaigners that the arrival of Francis in the Vatican would see a real shake-up and criminal priests facing criminal prosecutions, little of substance has changed, with the church seemingly still keen to keep punishment, if any, in-house.

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