Pope’s promotion of toxic bishop hard to believe

Dear Editor, I was astounded to read the amount of evidence suggesting that Bishop Juan Barros not only knew about sexual abuse by Chile’s most notorious clerical sex abuser, but actually watched him abuse teenagers (IC 09/04/2015 ‘Vatican stands by controversial bishop’).

When I initially heard of the protests against his appointment as Bishop of Osorno, I thought that it may have been down to mismanagement of abuse cases on his behalf. But the case against him is so much worse than that.

I can’t understand why Pope Francis, a man who seems so determined to root out abuse of all kinds and to prioritise the protection of the vulnerable, can dismiss the witness testimony against Dr Barros and say there was “no objective reason” not to install him as diocesan bishop. How can a man who is so unpopular and so mistrusted in Chile possibly become the kind of pastoral leader that Pope Francis wants, with the “smell of sheep” on him?

Bishop Barros is a toxic figure, and I can only hope that he now does the decent thing and resigns.

Yours etc,

Maureen Hegarty,

Salthill, Galway.