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Pope meets with abuse survivors, weeps with them in Chile ... Later calls them slanderers

Early during his visit to Chile, which began on January 15, Pope Francis met with suvivors of clergy sexual abuse and wept with them over the "irreparable damage they suffered." Later during his journey, he accused survivors of slandering Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, whom he appointed bishop of Osorno in 2015. Bishop Barros had been accused of covering up the sexual abuse of Fr. Fernando Karadima, who was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican in spite of his protests of innocence.

Pope meets with a use survivors, weeps with them in Chile
(Jan. 17, 2018) “Pope Francis met on Tuesday (Jan. 16) with survivors of priests who sexually abused them, wept with them and apologized for the ‘irreparable damage’ they suffered, his spokesman said. The pontiff also acknowledged the ‘pain’ of priests who have been held collectively responsible for the crimes of a few, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told reporters at the end of the day. Francis dove head-first into Chile’s sex abuse scandal on his first full day in Santiago that came amid unprecedented opposition to his visit … But his meeting with abuse survivors and comments in his first speech of the day were what many Chileans, incensed by years of abuse scandal and cover-up, were waiting for.” By Peter Prengaman and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Pope accuses sex abuse victims in Chile of slandering bishop
(Jan. 19, 2018) “Pope Francis has accused abuse victims in Chile of slandering a bishop who they say protected a pedophile priest, upending his efforts to rehabilitate the Catholic Church’s reputation while visiting South America. Francis told reporters Thursday there was not a shred of evidence against Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who victims of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, Chile’s most notorious priest, have accused of being complicit in his crimes. ‘The day someone brings me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk,’ Francis said before celebrating Mass outside the northern Chilean city of Iquique. ‘But there is not one single piece of evidence. It is all slander. Is that clear?’” By Pascale Bonnefoy and Austin Ramzy, The New York Times

Pope defends Chilean bishop accused of abuse cover-up
(Jan. 18, 2018) "Pope Francis defended his 2015 appointment of a Chilean bishop accused of covering-up sexual abuse perpetrated by a fellow priest in the 1980s and '90s, calling the charges against the prelate 'calumny.' Questioned Jan. 18 by reporters at the beginning of an open-air Mass in Iquique about Osorno, Chile, Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, accused of not reporting Fr. Fernando Karadima, the pope said: 'The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him,' Francis insisted. 'It is calumny. Is that clear?' At least one of Karadima's victims has said Barros witnessed Karadima's actions. Juan Carlos Cruz has said the future bishop watched as Karadima abused him, which Barros has denied." By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter