Vatican--Accepting the resignation of Chilean bishop a start, but survivors’ group wants more decisive action

For immediate release June 12, 2018

Statement by Tim Lennon, Volunteer President of the Board of Directors of SNAP, the Survivors Network (415-312-5820,

Yesterday the Vatican made a brief announcement saying that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid. The bishop had been accused of covering up child sexual abuse by Father Fernando Karadima. Survivor Juan Carlos Cruz, one of those victimized by the priest, tweeted that this represented "a new day for the Catholic Church in Chile."


Like our good friend Juan Carlos, we are grateful that Bishop Barros has been removed. We also share his hope that this indeed heralds a new day for the Church in his birth country.

However, we were disappointed that the pope did not take the opportunity to specify the reason that he accepted the bishop’s resignation. This was an opportunity to state clearly that he was being removed for his part in the cover up of Father Karadima’s crimes. Otherwise we see no difference between this resignation and the earlier ones of Cardinal Bernard Law, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Robert Flynn.

Also we question whether resignation is a consequence that will have a significant impact on the behavior of other bishops. These hierarchs lost their positions, but they did not lose their titles, or anything else that we can see. 

Until Pope Francis correctly identifies the reason for these removals as the widespread and systemic cover up of clergy sexual abuse, and institutes real consequences for this despicable behavior, we fear accepting this resignation is nothing more than a clever PR move. True reform, we believe, demands more decisive action. 

(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

Contact  -  Tim Lennon (415-312-5820,, Becky Ianni (703-801-6044,, Melanie Sakoda (925-708-6175,

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