Pope Francis defended Chilean Bishop Juan Barros on Thursday and said accusations that he covered up the sexual abuse of minors committed by priest Fernando Karadima “are slander.” The pontiff told reporters during his arrival in the city of Iquique that the day they will take him “a test against Bishop Barros,” he will speak. Also, that day will be the third and last mass of his apostolic tour in Chile.
“There is not a single test against, everything is slander”, Jorge Mario Bergoglio emphasized in statements to the informants who approached him the moment he got out of the closed car in which he was traveling to get on the popemobile. Francisco, who continues his sixth papal trip to Latin America in Peru, said he was “very happy with the Chilean people” because “he is very good and welcoming”.
Juan Barros Madrid, appointed bishop in March 2015 by Pope Francis, has been in the eye of the hurricane these days for his participation in the main religious events on the occasion of the visit of the Argentine pontiff. This, due to complaints against him as a cover for the crimes committed by Chilean Catholic priest Fernando Karadima when he was pastor of the church of El Bosque.
Last Tuesday, Barros appeared for the first time in public on the Bergoglio tour during the mass mass held in the O’Higgins park in the Chilean capital. As a result of this fact, Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the complainants of the priest Karadima, said that Barros was present when the pastor of the Forest abused him. As on previous occasions, Barros rejected this accusation. Shortly before the pope came out to defend him, the bishop of Osorno said Thursday that Francisco gave him words of “encouragement and affection” yesterday.