Pope Francis is sending the Vatican’s top expert on sexual abuse to Chile to investigate accusations that a Bishop covered up for an abusive Priest.
The investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta is known for prosecuting a number of cases for the Vatican’s doctrinal body from 2002 to 2012.
The Pope met the priest’s victims on a recent visit, but said that the accusations against Barros were “slander” and that he would only speak out if he had “proof” against Barros. Francis later apologized for having demanded proof of victims, but stood by his belief that the accusations against Barros were “calumny.”
The Pope has been criticised since Barros was announced Bishop of Osorno, in South-Central Chile, in 2015 despite stiff opposition. Barros’ presence there has split the dioceses ever since, with both laity and priests rejecting him and protesting his appointment.
His recent visit to the country was met with protests, and he was then sharply criticised for defending the bishop.