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Protests mount against Chilean bishops accused of abuse cover-up; Pope meets with leaders of bishops' conference

January 11, 2016

A group of Chilean lay people staged a demonstration at St. Matthew’s cathedral in Osorno, Chile, on January 9, demanding the removal of Bishop Juan Barros.

Bishop Barros has been the focus of controversy because of charges that he covered up evidence of abuse by a notorious priest, Father Fernando Karadima. The demonstration marked the anniversary of the bishop’s appointment.

Pope Francis has steadfastly defended the appointment, saying that the accusers of Bishop Barros have been “swayed by the unfounded allegations of the leftists.” The Pontiff met on January 11 with leaders of the Chilean hierarchy: Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago de Chile, the president of the Chilean bishops’ conference; Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, the vice-president; and Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel of Melipilla, the secretary. The status of Bishop Barros, and the continuing loud protests against his leadership, were believed to be a topic of conversation.


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  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 11, 2016 11:00 PM ET USA

    Bishop surrounded with so much controversy should be replaced by another good Bishop and the problem would be solved. The sooner - the better. This takes too much time and energy to be beneficial for anyone. And even if he is perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing, he will not be able to shepherd God's people effectively anymore.