SANTIAGO, Chile — The Vatican’s sex crimes investigator has ended his mission in Chile, and Roman Catholic officials say he plans to deliver a report to the pope on a Chilean bishop who has been accused of ignoring sex abuse by a priest.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna closed his visit Wednesday with a message expressing gratitude for “the welcome of the Chilean people” and also thanking abuse victims for meeting with him.
The statement came a day after Scicluna interviewed several victims of sex abuse by members of the Marist Brothers religious order, a development that suggested his mandate had expanded beyond looking into allegations of a cover-up by Osorno Bishop Juan Barros.
Victims of pedophile priest Fernando Karadima have said that as a priest Barros witnessed and ignored the abuse. Barros denies that.
Barros has been a bishop since 1995, but his 2015 appointment to the city of Osorno by Francis caused outrage after the Karadima scandal had eroded the Catholic Church’s credibility in Chile. Barros has faced protests in Osorno by priests and lay Catholics who question how someone who says he never saw anything suspicious at the parish could be trusted to protect Osorno’s children today.
Scicluna extended his stay in the country after being hospitalized for gall bladder surgery for three days.
Crux staff contributed to this report.