Features > Francis on the defensive

31 January 2018 | by Paul Vallely

Francis on the defensive

Francis on the defensive


Why does Pope Francis seem so ambivalent, or muddled, about the issue of sex abuse within the Catholic Church? This week, he launched an investigation into the case of Bishop Juan Barros. On his visit to Chile last month, he snapped testily at reporters when they raised criticisms of his decision to promote Barros, who had been accused of covering up sex abuse by his priestly mentor. “The day they bring me proof against the bishop, then I will speak. There is not a single proof against him,” the pontiff said, adding irritably: “This is calumny! Is that clear?” 

The Pope was chided by the head of his own sex abuse commission, Cardinal Seán O’Malley. He apologised but survivors of abuse reacted vehemently.


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