Vat­i­can to in­ves­ti­gate bishop in Chile

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

VAT­I­CAN CITY — Pope Fran­cis has de­cided to send the Vat­i­can’s most re­spected sex crimes ex­pert to Chile to in­ves­ti­gate a bishop ac­cused by vic­tims of cov­er­ing up for the coun­try’s most no­to­ri­ous pe­dophile priest.

The Vat­i­can said Tues­day that Mal­tese Arch­bishop Charles Sci­cluna would travel to Chile “to lis­ten to those who have ex­pressed the de­sire to pro­vide el­e­ments” about the case of Bishop Juan Bar­ros.

The move marks the first known time the Vat­i­can has be­gun a full-blown in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of sex abuse cover-up, and it comes af­ter Fran­cis was harshly crit­i­cized for his de­fense of Bar­ros.

Bar­ros said in a state­ment Tues­day that he wel­comed “with faith and joy” the pope’s de­ci­sion to have Sci­cluna in­ves­ti­gate and prayed that the process would un­cover the truth. He has de­nied see­ing any abuse or know­ing of it.

Bar­ros was a pro­tege of the Rev. Fer­nando Karadima, a charis­matic and po­lit­i­cally pow­er­ful priest who was sanc­tioned by the Vat­i­can for sex­u­ally abus­ing mi­nors in 2011.


A girl dries berries Tues­day near a paddy on the out­skirts of Gauhati, In­dia.

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