AP News: Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.
The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.
“The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will speak,” the pope said in response to a journalist’s question about the 61-year-old bishop, appointed by Francis in 2015 despite being accused of covering up another priest’s abuse of boys.
“There is not a single piece of proof against him. Everything is slander. Is this clear?”
Opinion: Except for the 8-page letter.
In 2015 the letter detailing the abuse of Juan Carlos Cruz was delivered by the pope’s ‘Protection Commission’ to Francis’ top abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who confirmed the letter was delivered in his hands.
Bishop Juan Barros was accused of covering up the abuse of Juan Carlos Cruz caused by Reverend Fernando Karadima, a charismatic and politically powerful priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors in 2011.
Karadima’s victims testified to Chilean prosecutors that Barros, a protege’ of Karadima and other priests in the El Bosque community saw Karadima kissing youngsters and were aware of his perversions, but did nothing.
After Karadima was sanctioned, Chile’s bishops were so intent on trying to stem the fallout from the scandal that they persuaded the Vatican to have Barros and two other Karadima-trained bishops resign and take a year-long sabbatical, according to the 2015 letter obtained by Associated Press.
But Francis stepped in and put a stop to the plan, arguing that there was not any proof against them. He overruled the local bishops’ objections and in January 2015 appointed Barros to head the diocese of Osorno. Barros’ presence there has badly split the dioceses ever since, with both laity and priests rejecting him and protesting his appointment.
In a rare rebuke of a pope by a cardinal, O’Malley issued a statement Jan. 20 in which he said the pope’s words were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” and that such expressions had the effect of abandoning victims and relegating them to “discredited exile.”
A day later, Francis apologized for having demanded “proof” of wrongdoing by Barros, saying he meant merely that he wanted to see “evidence.”
As of 2015, the Catholic Church has paid $3,994,797,060 to Catholics who proved sexual abuse by priests. And yet the Vatican recently released information that says that the number of Catholics have increased at an exponential rate, even faster than the world population.
The job of the coming False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-17) will be a piece of cake.