Vatican Defends Appointment of Controversial Bishop in Chile

The appointment of a controversial bishop in Chile was made after a careful review found no "objective reasons" to prevent Bishop Juan Barros from taking over the Diocese of Osorno, the Vatican press office said.

The bishop had been accused of covering up for a priest who was known to have committed sexual abuse; some 3,000 demonstrators gathered outside and inside the Osorno cathedral March 21 to protest his installation as bishop.

Advertisement

"The Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate's candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment," said the Vatican's March 31 statement.

The protesters claimed Bishop Barros was complicit in the case of Father Fernando Karadima, who the Vatican in 2011 found guilty of sexually abusing minors and ordered to "retire to a life of prayer and penitence."

Bishop Barros denied having any knowledge of Father Karadima's crimes.

Still, several lay members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors criticized his appointment to Osorno and expressed their concern.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
John Barbieri
3 years ago
On the part of the Vatican, naming this bishop to head the Diocese of Osorno seems just like "business as usual." Why did this bishop accept an appointment to a diocese whose people and clergy appear not to want him? This looks like it will not end well for all involved.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The appointments are part of an ongoing effort to give a greater role to women in the work of the Roman Curia offices, the central administration of the Catholic church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 21, 2018
Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018
Photo: the Hank Center at Loyola University Chicago
Bishop McElroy said that Catholics must embrace “the virtues of solidarity, compassion, integrity, hope and peace-building.”