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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope asks Vatican abuse expert to review new information on Chilean bishop

Pope Francis asked a longtime expert in handling abuse allegations to gather new information in Chile concerning Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.

The pope was sending Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta to review the matter after the pope received “some information recently with regards to the case” of Bishop Barros, the Vatican said on 30th January.

Pope Francis decided to send the archbishop to the Chilean capital “to listen to those who expressed a willingness to submit information in their possession,” the Vatican said.

Archbishop Scicluna is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the board handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes. The archbishop also had 10 years’ experience as the Vatican’s chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases at the doctrinal congregation.

Some have accused Bishop Barros of having been aware of abuse perpetrated by his former mentor, Fr Fernando Karadima. The priest was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

Picture: Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile, arrives in procession for Pope Francis’ celebration of Mass near Temuco, Chile, on 17th January. Pope Francis has asked Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta, a longtime expert in handling abuse allegations, to go to the Chilean capital to gather information about Bishop Barros. The Chilean bishop is accused by victims of witnessing and covering up sexual abuse of minors. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).