Chile – Pope admits “serious mistakes” in sex abuse crisis; survivors vindicated

Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda, Volunteer Secretary of SNAP’s Board of Directors (925-708-6175,[email protected])

Pope Francis today admitted to making “serious mistakes” in handling Chile’s sex abuse crisis. We rejoice with the Chilean survivors whose steadfast witness is vindicated by the Pope’s admission.

During a trip to South America earlier this year the pope told reporters that there was no proof that Bishop Juan Barros Madrid and three other bishops knew about Father Fernando Karadima’s sexual abuse of children. Yet Juan Carlos Cruz and other victims testified in court and wrote in letters sent to church officials that these bishops did know and covered it up. Not only did the pope ignore this evidence, he also slandered these survivors by accusing them of calumny.

While we are glad that Pope Francis has publicly acknowledged his serious mistake, it is only a small step in the right direction. From what has been uncovered through lawsuits, media stories and governmental investigations, far too many Catholic officials were complicit in covering up abuse, which resulted in grave damage to innocent lives.  True progress would be for the pope to make sure that all reports of abuse within the Church, new and old, are immediately turned over to local law enforcement for investigation.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is

Contacts - Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175), Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, [email protected]),  Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, [email protected])

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