SNAP shocked as Pope Francis accuses clergy sex abuse victims of slander

For immediate release Friday, January 19, 2018

Statement by Joelle Casteix of California, Volunteer Western Regional Leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network (949-322-7434[email protected])

Pope Francis’ trip to Chile, which was supposed to be a healing moment, ended with him further alienating Catholic survivors. When a Chilean reporter asked the Pope about the controversial appointment of Bishop Juan Barros, his response was absolutely shocking to SNAP, the Survivors Network. Pope Francis replied to the reporter, "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I'll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It's all calumny. Is that clear?"

What survivors have said and the media has reported about Bishop Barros is far from slanderous. In fact, the Vatican has been in crisis mode for years in an attempt to clean up the swath of destruction that both Barrios and his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima wrought in Chile.

Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for his crimes. He is protected from criminal prosecution only by Chile's statute of limitations for child sexual abuse—the evidence is there, but prosecutors' hands are tied.

Barros's only defense is Pope Francis. 

It is as if Pope Francis took a trip to Chile, apologized for abuse, prayed for healing, asked for forgiveness, and then got on his plane and said, "Just kidding."

(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 members. Our website is


Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175[email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434[email protected]), or Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314-503-0003[email protected])

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant