VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The appointment of a controversial bishop in Chile was made after a careful review found no “objective reasons” to prevent Bishop Juan Barros from taking over the Diocese of Osorno, the Vatican press office said.
The bishop had been accused of covering up for a priest who was known to have committed sexual abuse; some 3,000 demonstrators gathered outside and inside the Osorno cathedral March 21 to protest his installation as bishop.
“The Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment,” said the Vatican’s March 31 statement.
The protesters claimed Bishop Barros was complicit in the case of Father Fernando Karadima, who the Vatican in 2011 found guilty of sexually abusing minors and ordered to “retire to a life of prayer and penitence.”
Bishop Barros denied having any knowledge of Father Karadima’s crimes.
Still, several lay members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors criticized his appointment to Osorno and expressed their concern.