Crux received the following statement from three men abused by Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.
Our Statement Regarding the Appointment of Bishop Barros and the Responsibility of Pope Francis
Since his election we have put all our hope in Pope Francis. We have been encouraged by his words about sexual abuse when he told bishops: “We must continue to do everything possible to eradicate the plague of child sexual abuse in the church and open a path of reconciliation and healing for those who have suffered.” Furthermore: “Diocesan and superiors of congregations must verify that parishes and church institutions ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”
We know that the appointment of bishops is something Pope Francis takes very seriously. However, people in Chile and throughout the world are disappointed because of the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros as head of the Diocese of Osorno, Chile. A man we know and have accused of witnessing abuse, our abuse, and therefore encouraging the perverse dynamics of power. The Chilean Bishops’ Conference, aware of the facts concerning Barros, supported him in a statement.
The Archbishop of Concepción, Fernando Chomalí, met with the Pope a few weeks ago and warned him that the Barros appointment was causing consternation in Chile, not only in the community of Osorno, but throughout the country. Pope Francis admitted to knowing the suffering of the victims of Karadima and the damage to the Chilean church. However — despite everything — the Pope, through the Nuncio in Chile, Ivo Scapolo, reconfirmed Barros without considering the facts and warnings of so many people, including priests and bishops. With pain we see that the faithful will have to accept and deal with Pope Francis’ decision. A pain and fear we know too well.
Today, priests and lay people, people of good will from all corners of Chilean society question the appointment and will not participate in the installation of this bishop.
As survivors of the abuse by Karadima, and the complicity of Bishop Barros, we are accustomed to the blows we have received from the Chilean hierarchy, but never directly from the Holy Father. It is hard to believe that it was the Pope himself who said a few days ago: “families should know that the Church makes great efforts to protect their children, who have the right to address her with confidence, because it is a safe house.”
— Juan Carlos Cruz Chellew
— James Hamilton Sánchez
— José Andrés Murillo Urrutia
Santiago, March 19th 2015