As I have said many times when doing these “critique of the Pope” articles, there is seldom a day that goes by without some comment from him, or some story about him, to infuriate me, a suffering ex-Catholic. Here is the latest:
“Pope Francis is under fire for his handling of a clerical sexual abuse scandal. A report has emerged saying the pontiff was handed a letter from a Chilean abuse victim detailing his ordeal and a cover-up of alleged crimes.
In the letter, seen by AP, Juan Carlos Cruz says he is a victim of cleric Fernando Karadima’s abuse in the 1980s, detailing the kissing and fondling he claims to have suffered. Additionally, Cruz accuses Karadima’s fellow priest Juan Barros (whom Francis appointed to lead the Diocese of Osorno in 2015) of witnessing the horrific, humiliating abuse and ignoring it.
Bishop Barros has repeatedly denied witnessing the abuse or covering it up. Cruz alleged in his letter that Barros himself would be fondled by Karadima, once a prominent Chilean cleric who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for abusing minors and ordered to live a life of prayer and penance. He recalled how Karadima would kiss Barros and fondle his genitals, and then do the same with younger priests and boys. Cruz claimed that young priests and seminarians would fight to sit next to Karadima to be fondled as well.”
The sexual abuse allegations have been extraordinarily damaging to the Church, and while some may feel that there is a conspiracy here, the Church has been its own worst enemy by not quickly coming down hard on alleged offenders, and instigating immediate investigations. It is a great mess that will take a generation or more to recover from. Whatever the real causes, the damage to the church is painfully clear.