Bishop Juan Barros © Paul Haring (KNA)
With a report from Chile, Archbishop Scicluna is expected to see the Pope. He had been sent as a special investigator to clear up cover-up allegations against Bishop Barros. He returns to the Vatican on Thursday.
The special investigator sent to Chile to investigate cover-up allegations against Bishop Juan Barros, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, has completed his investigation. He will leave the South American country on Thursday (local time). This was confirmed by the spokesman for the Chilean Episcopal Conference, Jaime Coiro, according to a report by TV station T13. At the end of the talks, Scicluna met with Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati. Shortly, Scicluna will deliver his report to the pope, Coiro said, without giving a specific date.
Scicluna had been sent by Pope Francis to the U.S. and Chile to speak with victims of sexual abuse there. In particular, there was the question of whether the Chilean bishop Juan Barros, a former protege of the perpetrator and priest Fernando Karadima, knew about the acts and concealed them. Pope Francis, on his trip to Chile in January, had defended Bishop Barros, whom he had appointed, saying he had no evidence that he had known of the abuse by Karadima. For this the pope reaped partly heavy criticism.
Pope had apologized
On the flight back to Rome, the pope then asked for apologies for his choice of words: Many victims of abuse could not provide evidence of what they had suffered or were ashamed to disclose it. Instead of "evidence," one should speak more correctly of certain indications. The word "proof" has hurt the victims. "To hear the pope say, 'Bring me a letter with the proof,' is a slap in the face," Francis said.
On the outbound flight to Chile, Scicluna had met with one of the victims in the U.S. According to media reports, the latter had already had indications of Barros' complicity handed over to the pope in 2015. It is unclear whether Francis has read the notices. During his stay, Scicluna, who is from Malta, had to undergo a gall bladder operation, but was able to resume his work after a few days. In the meantime, the Spanish clergyman Jordi Bertomeu, who was part of Scicluna's delegation, had continued the talks.