Did Pope Francis Help Cover Up a Sex Scandal? Letter Reveals the Pope Knew About Heinous Pedophilia Case

Pope Francis knew that a Chilean bishop had allegedly helped cover up heinous incidents of sexual abuse when he promoted him to a prestigious role in the Catholic Church, according to one report.

The Pope came under fire during a recent trip to Chile, when victims of sexual abuse protested his decision to promote Bishop Juan Barros, a man widely accused of helping his mentor conceal the sexual abuse of children. Pope Francis has regularly defended Barros and called the allegations against him slanderous. But a letter viewed by the Associated Press reveals that the Pope was contacted by a victim of sexual abuse in 2015. Members of the Pope’s sex-abuse commission said the Pope had received the eight-page document outlining how a Chilean reverend had kissed and fondled the victim while Barros watched.

The scandal centers on Father Fernando Karadima, a man long considered the preacher for Chile’s Catholic elites. Karadima was accused of having abused minors for years, and in 2011 a Vatican commission found him guilty of sexual abuse. He was defrocked and ordered to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penitence.

908735708 Pope Francis answers journalists during a press conference on January 22. Getty Images

But Bishop Barros, Karadima’s protégé, was appointed to an important church position in the southern city of Osorno and assumed the role in 2015, despite allegations that he had helped Karadima hide his crimes. People in Chile were outraged and called on Pope Francis to revoke the appointment. Even Chile’s top church officials vocally opposed Barros’s promotion. But the Pope consistently defended Barros and said the accusations against him were lies.

During his recent trip to Chile in January, the Pope was met by protesters and eventually issued an apology for the damage caused by the church’s sex-abuse scandals.

“I feel bound to express my pain and shame, shame I feel for the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church,” the Pope said during the visit. “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and to make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.”

Barros has maintained his innocence and said he was not aware of the abuse.

496715180 Chilean priest Fernando Karadima appears in a Santiago court on November 11, 2015, to testify in a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santiago for allegedly covering up sexual abuse. Getty Images

Last week, however, the Vatican finally caved to public pressure and pledged to send a sex-abuse investigator to Chile to document testimony about Barros.

The Pope said the Catholic Church has a zero-tolerance policy on sex abuse, but critics said he has not done enough to punish those accused of molesting children. 

Join the Discussion