The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is wrong, says Juan Carlos Claret, one of the many victims of sexual abuse connected to the case against Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.
“There are so many testimonies that both the Chilean and the Vatican courts have decided to find the reason for the victims in 2010," said Claret, a spokesman for Laicos de Osorno. He added that following the Pope’s visit, it was painfully clear that the pontiff was protecting Archbishop Juan Barros, who is accused of aiding and abetting Father Karadima.
“It was confirmed that Pope Francis is defending a bishop who is seriously accused of (covering up) sexual abuse of the greatest pedophile in the history of the Chilean Church," Claret said.
On his departure from the South American country, the pope finally voiced his opinion on the highly controversial statement, essentially dismissing the allegations as slander just two days after participating in a private session with some Chile’s victims of sexual abuse.
As the pontiff exited the 'popemobile', he approached a group of reporters, some of whom asked about Barros. The pope responded: “The day I receive proof against Archbishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one proof against him; it’s all calumny. Is that clear?”
The pope’s visit to Chile was overshadowed by protests against members of the Chilean church’s involvement in sexual abuse. According to United States-based NGO Bishop Accountability, in Chile, almost 80 clergymen have sexually abused children since 2000. Pope Francis was met with nationwide protests against sexual abuse that resulted in at least 100 people detained and at least 9 violent attacks on churches.