SNAP to Pope Francis: Let an independent panel review the case against Bishop Barros
For immediate release Tuesday, January 23, 2018
During his recent trip to South America Pope Francis twice told reporters that there is no evidence that Bishop Juan Barros Madrid knew about Father Fernando Karadima’s sexual abuse of children. In doing so the prelate not only ignored the testimony of those men who were victimized by Karadima, he also slandered the victims by accusing them of calumny.
We say: if Pope Francis insists that Barros is innocent: let him put his money where his mouth is.
It seems to us that rather than continuing to make statements that are offensive to abuse survivors, Pope Francis should submit the case to public scrutiny.
We propose that the pope allow an independent five person panel to investigate the charges against Barros. The group should be composed of current or former UN or ICC officials.We further suggest that half of the panel be chosen by victims, the other half by the Vatican, with one additional person chosen by the panel. The complete findings of the group must be made public.
Pope Francis would also need to turn over to the panel all the information on Barros and Karadima in the Vatican’s possession. In addition, he would need to pledge to remove Barros from his position in Chile if the bishop is found to have known about Karadima’s abuse, as the victims have reported.
Pope Francis insists that Barros is innocent. The Karadima victims say Barros knew.
Let an independent panel decide.
(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 SNAPnetwork.org)