Whatever closure an apology from Pope Francis brought to Chile’s victims of sexual abuse earlier this week, it went out the window Thursday as he accused victims of slandering a bishop. During his visit this week, the pontiff begged for “forgiveness” from victims of Fernando Karadima, a priest convicted of sexual abuse by the Vatican in 2011, nearly a decade after the first allegations were reported in 2002. Numerous victims have questioned the pontiff’s recent decision to appoint the man who worked directly under Karadima, Bishop Juan Barros, to head the diocese of the city of Osorno, despite numerous allegations he helped Karadima cover up the abuse. But Francis defended his decision and on Thursday hit back against Barros’ accusers, according to the Associated Press. “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?” Francis was quoted as saying. His comments sparked outrage among victims and their advocates, who noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican for Karadima to be convicted.
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