20Jan Bishop Barros controversy in Chile

In a comment on another thread Iggy O Donovan asks

“Can anybody shed light on the reported comments of Francis in Chile regarding Bishop Barros Madrid. It appears to have offended abuse survivors and if true would definitely cast a negative cloud over his papacy. Also from the point of view of his Irish visit it would make itself felt and not in a positive way.”

To provide some information on this subject we carry a report from americamagazine.org and a statement issued by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston.

 

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/01/18/calumny-pope-francis-defends-bishop-barros-against-charges-he-knew-sexual-abuse

‘This is calumny’: Pope Francis defends Bishop Barros against charges he knew of sexual abuse

Gerard O’Connell

January 18, 2018

Pope Francis today defended the controversial Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, when asked by Chilean journalists on arrival at Iquique, in the north of Chile, whether he supported the bishop.

“The day they bring me proof against the bishop, then I will speak. There is not a single proof against him. This calumny! Is that clear?” Francis stated.

Many in Chile opposed Francis’ appointment of Msgr. Barros as bishop of Osorno and still do because he is known to have belonged to the inner circle of the charismatic Chilean priest, the Rev. Fernado Karadima, against whom accusations of child abuse were leveled in 2010. State prosecutors could not intervene against Father Karadima then because of the statute of limitations, but a church inquiry did. Following its findings, he was removed from the ministry at the age of 80 and directed to a life of prayer and penance. Msgr. Barros was close to him and served as his secretary for a number of years, and very many people here feel he covered up Father Karadima’s abuse, but the bishop denies ever knowing anything about it. He repeated his denial in recent days when asked by the Chilean media and denounced the allegations as “calumny.” Many find it difficult to believe that he knew nothing.

There have been denunciations against Bishop Barros for a cover-up, with some claiming that he was present when some of the abuse happened. But he flatly denies the charges, and the church inquiry that was carried out concluded that, while there are many allegations, there are no hard facts that could stand up in a court to substantiate such charges.

Because Father Karadima was a high-profile priest, known throughout the country, the accusations and finding that he abused children shocked the nation.

Juan Carlos Cruz has publicly accused Father Karadima of abusing him and alleges that Bishop Barros was present when this happened, though the bishop categorically denies it.

On hearing what the pope said today, Mr. Cruz in a tweet commented, “How could one take a photo or a selfie while Karadima abused me and others with Barros standing at his side?” He said the pope’s words about reparation to the victims are meaningless.

There were many protests against Francis’ appointment of Bishop Barros, especially at the time of his installment. There was an international conference on the day the pope arrived that also highlighted accusations against the bishop. There have been some small protests during the visit but nothing significant.

There have been ongoing calls for the pope to remove Bishop Barros. Francis has ordered investigations but, as he made clear this morning, no one has come up with hard evidence against the bishop. And unless such proof presented to the pope, the bishop will remain in charge of the Diocese of Osorno

 

January 20, 2018 Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley Statement

“It is understandable that Pope Francis’ statements yesterday in Santiago, Chile were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator. Words that convey the message “if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed” abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile.

Not having been personally involved in the cases that were the subject of yesterday’s interview I cannot address why the Holy Father chose the particular words he used at that time. What I do know, however, is that Pope Francis fully recognizes the egregious failures of the Church and it’s clergy who abused children and the devastating impact those crimes have had on survivors and their loved ones.

Accompanying the Holy Father at numerous meetings with survivors I have witnessed his pain of knowing the depth and breadth of the wounds inflicted on those who were abused and that the process of recovery can take a lifetime. The Pope’s statements that there is no place in the life of the Church for those who would abuse children and that we must adhere to zero tolerance for these crimes are genuine and they are his commitment.

My prayers and concern will always be with the survivors and their loved ones. We can never undo the suffering they experienced or fully heal their pain. In some cases we must accept that even our efforts to offer assistance can be a source of distress for survivors and that we must quietly pray for them while providing support in fulfillment of our moral obligation. I remain dedicated to work for the healing of all who have been so harmed and for vigilance in doing all that is possible to ensure the safety of children in the community of the Church so that these crimes never happen again.”

 

25 Responses

  1. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    You have to really cut through the simulacra on this one to get to the heart of the matter. Somehow as a survivor, his comments were not met with great pain. It is essentially what any lawyer would tell you when representing you in a case – be specific when creating your claim and identify witnesses – if you have none, then there may be an issue. Should you feel terrible with your lawyer – no, because he has already made it clear and apparent that he is on your side.

    For me, Pope Francis has been on our side in all this, yet he is plagued with this ongoing environment where there is already an established guilt by association – reminiscent of the mafia in some ways. One guy does something and all of a sudden, you are all guilty for some reason. I understand that but this process is just intent on seeking a scapegoat to drag out to the desert to sacrifice so that everyone can feel a little better about things.

    Now in my area, the bishop responsible for bravely initiating the class action was found to have thousands of child pornography photos on his laptop – an anonymous message to border patrol agents through an internal airline phone tipped them off. That was great timing. This event was heart-breaking for survivors but again, those who have a hard time forgiving people would suffer the most. He was in a committed, loving relationship with a man for over 10 years yet still felt the need to have this type of stimulation in his life.

    It always pushes to Aquinas’s maxim of “put someone in an unnatural law and you will open the doorway to relativism at a personal level and totalitarianism at a political and state level”. We see this today more than ever – the millions of people abused by the conditions imposed in this fossil fuel era outweigh anything that has been done by the Catholic Church’s clergy, who are all tied to unnatural laws mind you, yet we don’t really talk about it do we? No because we are all implicated – we are all guilty. We are all sinners. Every last one of us.

  2. Pól Ó Duibhir

    It might be useful to have some background on Mgr. Barros and how his name came to be put forward for appointment as bishop.

  3. Kevin Walters

    This may help, extracts taken from an article in la-Croix; see the link below

    “What the trip made glaringly clear is that, despite the support Francis has received for his many good and inspiring steps to restore evangelical credibility to the church and its mission, many people still see him as “all talk and no action” when it comes to the issue of clergy sex abuse — especially in holding accountable those bishops who tried to cover it up.

    The best-known case of this in Chile directly involves the pope and his unwavering support of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who has been accused of protecting one of the country’s most notorious abusing priests. Many Chileans were angered when the pope allowed the bishop to concelebrate at the largest public Mass of the papal trip”
    This has long been the ugliest blot on his pontificate. And in the course of a few days it is now even uglier.

    Pope Francis’ credibility in dealing with sexual abuse has always been questionable, despite the many excuses and the positive “spin” his apologists and adulators have continued to put forth.
    It is undeniable that he has done far less than Benedict XVI did in addressing sexual abuse in the church, and yet the press has treated Francis with far greater tolerance for his omissions than it would have ever conceded to his now-retired predecessor.
    Francis simply has been flatfooted on the issue.

    It took Cardinals Reinhard Marx and Sean O’Malley, members of his C9 “privy council,” to convince the Jesuit pope to establish the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) and other now-aborted attempts to deal with sex abuse.
    But after three years of activity, the mandate of the commission’s members has expired. The PCPM has effectively been in mothballs now for over a month.

    Marie Collins, who was arguably the most credible member of the commission, shared her frustration this week over the PCPM’s abeyance.
    “It appears to me that the obvious lack of urgency or any slight of concern in the Vatican about the commissions’ current status reflects how unimportant the membership is considered. Also the low priority being given to this issue of child protection despite the assurances so often given by the pope and others that it has the highest priority!” she wrote on her blog
    This is damning. And Pope Francis — and all who support his efforts to reform and renew the church — should be very concerned”

    https://international.la-croix.com/news/the-pope-s-bewildering-inaction-on-sexual-abuse/6763
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  4. Sean O’Conaill

    Is the guilt or innocence of a bishop the crucial question when it comes to such a pitch of opposition, based, apparently, on the known long term association of this particular appointee with a man whose behaviour shocked an entire society? Why is it not possible to replace a bishop so opposed on the simple grounds of inability to discharge a key pastoral function – a function clearly demanding the trust of his people – without such a decision implying a ‘guilty’ verdict? If this man is not supported by his people, how can he function in this role?

    Aren’t we again being reminded here that it was once thought necessary to be sure that bishops had the support of their people before appointing them – before centralised appointments became the norm? I fear that Pope Francis is reminding us that he was once too autocratic for the good of his own order in Argentina, and that he has admitted to being also a sinner.

  5. Pádraig McCarthy

    I have no specific knowledge of this case, but the report in the Irish Times from PA on Saturday 20 January (“Pope accuses abuse victims of slander”) seems to confuse the two related by distinct questions: whether the abuse took place (this seems well established); and whether Bishop Barros knew and engaged in concealing the abuse. It is this second question which is disputed, but it seems to be the case, whatever the allegations, that nothing has been proven.

    Gerald O’Connell’s article above says: “Many find it difficult to believe that he knew nothing.” I can understand this, but I know from personal experience that it can be true. It is possible to live close to an abuser and yet have no knowledge whatever of the abuse. Just think of the recent case of the 13 children of a family in California who, it seems, were treated disgracefully for many years by their parents. They were not living in an isolated area – there are other suburban homes right beside the home in question – and yet neighbours say they suspected nothing.

    Guilt by association is injustice. Allegations are not the equivalent of proof.

    One may question the wisdom of appointing the bishop in circumstances where a lack of trust among the people would seriously inhibit his ministry. Perhaps the wise step for the bishop to take would be to resign on those grounds, without admission of guilt. It is likely however that this would not be satisfactory for some. It is difficult to see a path to reconciliation and healing.

    Veni, Sancte Spiritus.

  6. iggy o'donovan

    The statement of Cardinal O’Malley while quite supportive of Francis also seems to show that the Cardinal is somewhat uneasy with the Barros case.

  7. Joe O'Leary

    I was shocked to see America magazine chime in with the dishonest conflation of the abuser priest with the allegedly negligent bishop, making Francis out to be a colluder with the former.

    We seem to live amid a perpetual swirling of tendentious allegations. Here in Oxford I read of a student accused of rape at age 17 and now cleared at age 19 — abused by the Law in fact.

    https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/01/20/after-pope-francis-outrages-sex-abuse-victims-top-adviser-questions

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/907188/Rape-trial-Oliver-Mears-Oxford-University-student-acquitted-police-vital-evidence

  8. Frances Burke

    As a survivor I am bitterly disappointed with the Popes comments in Chile.

    “The day they bring me proof against the bishop, then I will speak. There is not a single proof against him. This calumny! Is that clear?” Francis stated.

    These are the words of one of those abused by Karadima
    “As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all,” tweeted Bishop Barros’s most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz.

    Anne Barrett Doyle, of the online database BishopAccountability.org, said “the burden of proof here rests with the church, not the victims — and especially not with victims whose veracity has already been affirmed. He has just turned back the clock to the darkest days of this crisis,” she said in a statement. “Who knows how many victims now will decide to stay hidden, for fear they will not be believed?”

    Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said in a statement on the 20th January, 2018
    “It is understandable that Pope Francis’ statements yesterday in Santiago, Chile were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator. Words that convey the message “if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed” abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile

    As a survivor I know the greatest obstacle to disclosure is the fear of not been believed. The Pope has done the greatest disservice to survivors by asking us for proof. Is our word not good enough?

  9. Paddy Ferry

    Great man though Francis is, it seems even he, like other good men who contribute to this site, once this issue arises, simply cannot prise the clericalist log from the retina. I am so disappointed. I never dreamed that I would see a Pope like Francis in my lifetime. So, this saddens me greatly.

  10. Kevin Walters

    Pádraig McCarthy @ 4

    “Come Holy Spirit”

    Is the guilt or innocence of Bishop Barros the crucial question?
    None of us can truly know the guilt or innocence of this bishop but what we do know is that Pope Francis has stood by him and holds him to be innocent of such charges.

    Under normal circumstances (Before credibility had been lost) this would have been more acceptable, but as Sean O’Conaill @4 says “If this man is not supported by his people, how can he function in this role?

    So this has to be seen in the overall management of this on-going scandal, one of deflection, denials, stonewalling, bribes, intimidation and lies.
    In all of this do we not see the true intent of the hierarchy, as in, to just carry on as before, as obviously they are not prepared to confront this situation honestly?

    Taken from the link to Robert Mickens article in La Croix; in my post @ 3

    “And this may be the tragic irony that provides the most reasonable answer to the extremely enigmatic question, “Why has the pope not disciplined bishops who mishandled sex abuse cases?”
    Perhaps because he did the same thing
    There is fairly substantial evidence, even if Francis’ supporters have always denied or refused to believe it, that when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and president of Argentina’s episcopal conference the future pope did little very little to remove or report priests accused of sexually abusing minors.
    Some alleged victims have said Cardinal Bergoglio did not even answer their letters of complaint. They’ve also said he refused to meet them or apologize to them.

    Perhaps this pope — a man who so deeply lives with the knowledge that he is a sinner who has been forgiven and needs to continually to be reminded of that forgiveness — is hampered by this painful admission: “Who am I to judge other bishops who, to one degree or another, failed to deal with complaints of sexual abuse just as I did?”
    If this is indeed the case, Pope Francis can do but one thing — admit that in those years he, too, was not without fault, just as his predecessors at the Vatican and most bishops around the world….cont

    If he did so, without the manifestation of true repentance, it would be interpreted as an on-going consolidation of serious sin.

    Then Robert Mickens continues to say

    …“and maybe this could lead to a sort of truth and reconciliation process in the church that seeks healing”

    Yes it would be a ‘sort of Truth’, a self-serving truth, one that has nothing to do with the transforming action of The Holy Spirit, as it would maintain the status quo.

    Possible Pádraig the Holy Spirit, is speaking through the title of the article, with its opening sentence, that bears witness to the Truth.

    The pope’s bewildering inaction on sexual abuse

    There is no question that Francis is authentic He does not demand of others what he does not demand of himself

    That is honesty in transparency

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  11. Paddy Ferry

    Kevin@10, very well said.

  12. Pádraig McCarthy

    Kevin #10:
    Three distinct matters.

    1. Can Bishop Barros effectively carry out his ministry if he does not have the trust of his people? It seems clear that the answer is that he cannot.

    2. You write: “There is fairly substantial evidence, even if Francis’ supporters have always denied or refused to believe it, that when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and president of Argentina’s episcopal conference the future pope did little very little to remove or report priests accused of sexually abusing minors.”
    I don’t know what makes “fairly substantial evidence.” is it sufficient to come to a conclusion? To arrive at a verdict? Is it speculation?
    “Fairly substantial” seems to indicate that it is not beyond reasonable doubt. Does it give justification for judging it as motive for the actions Francis is taking?

    3. “Pope Francis has stood by him and holds him to be innocent of such charges.”
    If we stand by the principle that any person has the right to be considered innocent unless and until any allegations are proven, is the stance of Francis not just and wise in these circumstances?
    The words Francis uses to communicate this seem harsh, but I only know of the accounts as reported, in English, and I have not seen the original words – in Spanish, I imagine.
    In any justice system, a plaintiff may well be severely disappointed with a verdict, but if the case has not been proven, it is important not to compound the situation by committing an injustice against the person accused. No human justice system is perfect; some may be corrupt; none can guarantee justice for both parties. The best is that both parties be heard: “audi alteram partem”, so that there is at least a chance for justice to be done.

    Apart from the case in question, there is also another kind of situation where it may be difficult to arrive at definitive answers. I am concerned at present about the case of a deceased priest against whom allegation have been made. I have no information either way. An apparently excellent person may conceal a much darker side, but it can also happen that false accusations are made, either maliciously, or for possible financial gain, or through faulty recollection or mistaken identity. Perhaps we also need to develop clear procedures for ascertaining the truth where possible in cases where the accused person is deceased and can no longer offer a defence.

  13. Joe O'Leary

    “Under normal circumstances (Before credibility had been lost) this would have been more acceptable, but as Sean O’Conaill @4 says “If this man is not supported by his people, how can he function in this role?”

    Let’s not get our lines crossed. That Francis would stand by an unpopular bishop is one thing, that the bishop allegedly turned a blind eye to child abuse is another. Too much whataboutery undermines the case.

    “The Pope has done the greatest disservice to survivors by asking us for proof. Is our word not good enough?”

    There are two “words”: one about the abusive cleric, and this has been received and believed, and the other about the bishop accused of negligence, and according to Francis there is no proof of the latter.

    “Words that convey the message “if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed” abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile.”

    Francis’s defence of Barros does not convey that message as far as I can see,

    “These are the words of one of those abused by Karadima “As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all,” tweeted Bishop Barros’s most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz.”

    This vaguely implies that Barros knew all about Karadima’s abuse, but the scenario evoked is only projection; where is the evidence that Barros knew of the abuse?

    “the burden of proof here rests with the church, not the victims — and especially not with victims whose veracity has already been affirmed. He has just turned back the clock to the darkest days of this crisis,” she said in a statement. “Who knows how many victims now will decide to stay hidden, for fear they will not be believed?”

    To believe a victim means to believe their account of what they actually experienced; it does not necessarily mean believing further suspicions or suppositions that may be baseless.

    In the midst of a media witch hunt it would be good to listen to the target of it, as Austen Ivereigh has done: https://cruxnow.com/pope-in-chile-and-peru/2018/01/18/pope-gives-support-controversial-bishop-chile-says-accusations-calumny

  14. Joe O'Leary

    Consider that IF Bishop Barros is completely guiltless, as he loudly claims, then the entire media and countless Catholic voices are indeed involved in a massive slander campaign, now directed against Pope Francis as well.

    Oh, but Barros MUST be guilty! Yes, but what about Kevin Reynolds, or Nora Wall? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_to_Prey

  15. Eddie Finnegan

    Paddy@9: “Great man though Francis is, it seems even he, like other good men who contribute to this site, once this issue arises, simply cannot prise the clericalist log from the retina.”
    Ouch! but this is becoming a bit of a meme with you which is quite unfair to thinking priest contributors such as Padraig McCarthy and Joe O’Leary @5,7,12,13,14 – and on earlier threads.

    Only yesterday on our local micro social website, ‘Old Photos of Crossmaglen Area’, I found myself ‘doing a Padraig & Joe’ in asking for evidence when a 1979 photo of Tomás Ó Fiaich’s return from Rome to Cross prompted one local to cast allegations on the vague “he knew all about it all” level, then laying into “the last one of you church-goers for I don’t know where you get the guts even to go on praying.” When we stop calling out those (whether in Iquique or Armagh) who lash out without evidence, against either the living or the dead, soon the whole social and print media and, as Joe@14 puts it, countless Catholic voices will slip into massive slander campaigns. So Paddy, let’s attend to the mote in our own eye before finding clericalist logs elsewhere.

  16. Kevin Walters

    Padraig McCarthy @ 12

    Thank you for your comment Padraig

    To your point at 2 I did not write “There is fairly substantial evidence, even …etc” it was a quote, as it is clearly shown, taken from an article written by Robert Mickens, Rome, Vatican City Correspondent for La Croix a well-established journalist, one many would perceive as having integrity who I also believe is sympathetic to Pope Francis.

    Point 3 you say
    “If we stand by the principle that any person has the right to be considered innocent unless and until any allegations are proven…

    I think that my post concurs with that; you then continue to say
    …is the stance of Francis not just and wise in ‘these circumstances’?”

    You respond at point 1 to the question can Bishop Barros effectively carry out his ministry if he does not have the trust of his people? You say

    “It seems clear that the answer is that he cannot”

    So one has to ask under ‘these circumstances’, why Pope Francis held a red flag to a bull, so to say. What possible reason could be his motive. Yes he wants to stand by his man, but common sense dictates that the days of dictatorial decree are long gone the church of tomorrow will have to lead by example. As in been seen to be open and transparently honest, as it should be, then yes if that were the case Pope Francis could hold the moral high ground in regards to Bishop Barros.

    The problem of the Pope’s credibility and by implication that of Bishop Barros can be seen in this extract; from the link below

    “The Karadima scandal dominated Francis’ visit to Chile and the overall issue of sex abuse and church cover-up was likely to factor into his three-day trip to Peru that began late Thursday.

    Karadima’s victims reported to church authorities as early as 2002 that he would kiss and fondle them in the swank Santiago parish he ran, but officials refused to believe them.

    Only when the victims went public with their accusations in 2010 did the Vatican launch an investigation that led to Karadima being removed from ministry”.

    The emeritus archbishop of Santiago subsequently apologized for having refused to believe the victims from the start

    http://time.com/5109212/pope-francis-sexual-abuse-chile-barros-karadima/

    Because of these on-going scandals throughout the Western World Pope Frances actions in taking the moral high ground are counterproductive, as they magnify the hypocrisy of the leadership of the church and as they do so, they undermine/confuse the faithful, as can clearly be seen in this confrontational incident with the faithful in Chile.

    Yes! There are many destructive elements within and without who want to undermine the Church. But Pope Francis dictatorial stance gives ammunition to those who would do so, in as much as, who are the laity to believe when it is so apparent to all, that the Church hierarchy are self-serving and dishonest, especially when their own credibility is questioned, Pope Francis actions only reinforce the perceived reality of a self-serving unaccountable Church.

    The one and only weapon against these destructive elements, is in the serving of the unbridled truth.

    Thankfully Our Lord has given the Church the means to enter into a new splendour that is one based on humility, if the church were to proceed along this path it that would induce all the faithful to act with integrity, from which new inclusive honest structures of governance would be formed, credibility would be restored, while past wrongs are righted, the possibilities are phenomenal but it will take honesty, vision and the will to do this.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  17. Jim Egan

    Kevin,
    Instead of decrying “Pope Francis’ dictatorial stance ” (from what quarters do we usually hear that language?) maybe you could also consider the dictatorship of the mob who act as judge, jury and executioner on their own assumptions.
    Once we abandon due process we lose reason and embrace the law of the jungle.
    As Francis said “The Barros case was studied, and studied again, and there was no evidence,” he insisted. “This is what I meant. I have no evidence to condemn him. And if I were to condemn him without evidence or moral certainty, I would commit the crime of [being] a bad judge.”

  18. Kevin Walters

    Jim Egan @

    Thank you Jim for your comment and giving me the opportunity to respond.
    The appointment to the position of Bishop by Pope Francis of Fr. Barros was an act of confrontation, as it confronted many religious and laity (Mob) who opposed his appointment.
    Yes the Pope insisted there was no evidence against him and it could be said that he courageous took the decision to appoint him.

    From my prospective the Pope does not comprehend the full reality of the situation, as he appears to see it as them and us, possible due to a lifetime of adversarial conflict with situations of evil.
    So in effect he laid down a marker as in, because ‘we’ find nothing wrong with this man, you must accept our decision, seen by many as been dictatorial/ confrontational.
    From his prospective it could be said he was upholding Christian values in giving right judgement in giving Priests, religious and the laity, an honest servant leader.

    I am sure that you will agree that mankind in general with many of the faithful/laity/cultural Catholics, see the leadership of the church as lacking in integrity, to put it mildly. So as previously stated this has to be seen in the overall management of this on-going scandal, one of deflection, denials, stonewalling, bribes, intimidation and lies.

    I remember when making a serious complaint many yours ago on behalf of someone else concerning a priest, the response given by one of the parish priests was “he is a good man he would only lie if he had to “said with a faint smile.
    It left me feeling confused as I did not fully comprehend the reality of what he had said to me.
    So over thirty years later on this site, a young man who had been abused by a priest, repeated those very same words, that had been said to me, had also been said to him; it was then when I fully understood the implication of this systematic on-going evil.

    But the problem is not with them and us rather it is with our own individual relationship with God, evil has to be confront honestly within one’s own heart first, when this happens one is obliged to confront that evil which we are ‘closely’ associated with, in our real life situation, if we do not, to some degree we are complicit with that evil.

    Presently the elite within the church are not been held accountable for their actions and until we are given a Pope/leadership that holds each other transparently accountable before the flock and in doing so teach others by example to do the same , deflection, denials, stonewalling, bribes, intimidation and lies will continue.

    So Pope Francis intentions on the assumption that they are good ones sadly are built on sand, so to say, because what he is presenting to us in his confrontational stance, is a mirage, as Bishop Barros is presently accountable to an illusion of holiness.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  19. Jim Egan

    Kevin, I have no great desire to get into a ping pong exchange on this issue.
    If innocence until proven guilty is done away with the rule of law is gone and we truly are at the mercy of mob rule, lynch law, and ‘group think’. Sadly in our history far too many innocent people have gone to the gallows and lifetimes in jails on the basis of assumptions, bias and prejudice.
    You will probably not agree but I interpret the overall tenor of your piece to be that a bishop / priest once accused is to be assumed guilty because of the crimes of others. Kevin Reynolds, Nora Wall, Tim Hazelwood et al can tell where that leads.
    Because you do not agree with the decision taken by the Pope you accuse him of being dictatorial. That is grave charge to be based on your “perception” of a case that none of us have the full facts on.
    You call for everyone to be ‘transparently accountable’. That demands that evidence must be produced and tested in due process before verdict and sentence are passed. It is the only way we can be ‘transparently accountable’. Sadly many seem to think that due process can be by passed once an allegation is made against religious, priests and bishops.
    One sentence of your piece jumped out at me, it included “because ‘we’ find nothing wrong with this man, you must accept our decision, ” I don’t know if you intended a scriptural reference but it is one we should all reflect on in these situations; it is that of Pontius Pilate washing his hands and handing Jesus over to the mob having declared “I find no guilt in Him”. It was easier for him to give the mob what they howled for than act justly.
    Thankfully Pope Francis has not done so, he has made a decision and has said that if evidence to the contrary is produced it will be assessed properly.
    For him act otherwise I suggest would be to be unbrotherly and unChristian and gravely unjust.

  20. Kevin Walters

    Jim Egan@19

    Thank you Jim for your comment

    “If innocence until proven guilty is done away with the rule of law is gone and we truly are at the mercy of mob rule, lynch law, and ‘group think’”

    Yes I agree.
    I do not think that I have indicated that the rule of law should be done away with and I most certainly do not agree with your overall interpretation.

    Possible some misunderstanding has occurred because my original post @ 3 is a transcript taken from an Article by Robert Mickens in La Croix
    Then in my post at 10 @ Pádraig McCarthy, I refer to my post (@3) which I have written in italics signifying that they are (Attributed to Robert Mickens). And then some of the points (Robert Mickens) made; were then attributed to me (unintentionally I am sure by) by Pádraig McCarthy @ 12.

    “Because you do not agree with the decision taken by the Pope you accuse him of being dictatorial. That is grave charge to be based on your “perception” of a case that none of us have the full facts on

    You will be aware that in my last post I softened this to dictatorial/ confrontational which it was. (Confrontational)

    “You call for everyone to be ‘transparently accountable’. That demands that evidence must be produced and tested in due process before verdict and sentence are passed. It is the only way we can be ‘transparently accountable’. Sadly many seem to think that due process can be by passed once an allegation is made against religious, priests and bishops

    Possible we have a misunderstanding here as I am referring to the cover-up by the Bishops, I said “Presently the elite within the church are not been held accountable for their actions and until we are given a Pope/leadership that holds each other transparently accountable before the flock and in doing so teach others by example to do the same deflection, denials, stonewalling, bribes, intimidation and lies will continue”

    I hope Jim, that this response clarifies some of the points that you have made.

    Sincerely
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  21. Sean O'Conaill

    #19 I read Kevin differently, Jim. In #10 he repeated the distinction I have made in #4 – between Pope Francis believing Bishop Barros to be innocent on the one hand, and insisting he remain in office on the other.

    The question we are asking (I believe) is whether the only grounds for removing/reassigning a bishop must be his perceived guilt for a particular offence. Trust in a bishop may be lost for other reasons than provable guilt (remembering that what is proven to one person may well never be provable to another) – and there are very good reasons for the collapse of trust in this bishop in this diocese in this case. How does it make sense for the Pope to insist in those circumstances that that very understandable loss of trust cannot be taken into account – that the diocese must accept this appointee forever simply because Francis holds him to be innocent?

    We have all seen cases in the secular world of people in high office resigning from that office simply because they have realised that they cannot secure the support and confidence necessary for the discharge of their office – without admitting the truth of any accusation against them.

    Is not that issue of trust and confidence even more important in the church? How does it make sense for an ecclesiastical appointee to hold on to such a key office come what may, when such diocesan unity is clearly beyond his compass? Is the harmony of a diocese, and of a whole country, of less importance than the principle that only a consensus on the guilt of an appointee can warrant an ecclesiastical administrative reassignment?

  22. Joe O'Leary

    Archbishop Welby is under fire for the opposite reason: http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2018/01/what-does-the-archbishop-think-he-is-doing-.html

  23. Mary Vallely

    I feel desperately sorry for Pope Francis. We have set him up to be a sort of human saviour and he is shown to have feet of clay. After the more serious, unemotional Benedict we longed for someone whose spontaneous smile could light up a room and cause an equal reaction from the vast throngs who waited to meet him, someone who rightly emphasised the greatest of Jesus’s qualities of mercy, compassion, and love. Isn’t that spontaneity such a joyful trait!There is a danger of course of turning him into a celebrity, not at all what Francis wants nor indeed a healthy attitude for any of us to cultivate.
    However he is a man, fallible, weak and with his own closeted demons and faults and we are struggling to understand why he has let us down so badly. Who knows the truth of his time as Archbishop Bergoglio? Where now is the mercy and compassion of Jesus in his attitude to survivors, we ask ourselves.
    This is where the value of a spouse or ‘ significant other’ would benefit him because that person would challenge him and discomfort him and he could accept the criticism as coming from a loving heart. Children too are wonderful at challenging parents when they act in an unfair or unreasonable manner. Perhaps Francis could have been a better man if he had had children. Who can he trust where he lives? He is surrounded by many who do not wish him well and it is such a lonely, isolated place to be with this tremendous heavy burden of responsibility to carry.
    I suppose we can all remind ourselves of his own words, “Who am I to judge?” I am as guilty as anyone of making assumptions about him. The good Lord is the only one who reads his heart correctly. Pope Francis needs our prayers more than ever now. We can just pray that the Holy Spirit guides him into making wise decisions and to listen to and heed the cries of those who have been so incredibly hurt by members of the Church. Maybe we expect too much of one man. Perhaps there is a need to look at the whole hierarchical structure of the Church and to ask ourselves is this really what Jesus intended? Can we restructure it in some better way so that all voices are heard, all the vulnerable and weak are guaranteed safety and a loving welcome? Equality, transparency, accountability. Surely these should be automatically enshrined in our greatest commandment to love one another? I pray that Francis will reflect on the hurt his recent words have had on those most wounded and who are in such need of compassion.

  24. Richard O'Donnell

    It is clear that the Pope has spoken and listened at length to the bishop here.Surely, it is fairly obvious that he should do the same for the victims. To do otherwise is to just continue the practice of clericalism; the bishop is worth listening to, the lay victims are not.

    This, is clearly and rightly a huge issue for the victims involved. It is the same for the Pope, and indeed his papacy, because this could easily become the beginning of the end of a good papacy.

    Great credit is due to Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley for his leadership in this instance.

  25. Frances Burke

    Is it all a big cover up?

    https://t.co/TqHwPl3tIC?ssr=true


Scroll Up