Last May, Pope Francis spoke about allegations that the bishop of Osorno, Chile, Juan Barros, was complicit in a crime of priestly sexual abuse. The bishop, who was installed in March, has come under fire for covering up the abuses of Father Fernando Karadima. The priest was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011; the following year a Chilean court dismissed claims against him because the statute of limitations had expired.
It should be noted that the bishop’s principal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay man, was 15 when the alleged abuse occurred and it did not end until he was 23! Moreover, we know that a Vatican inquiry was sufficient for Pope Francis to take the bishop’s side. “The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” he said. He explained that it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof.” Then the pope got specific: “Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this.”
Pope Francis could have admonished the crowd not to be manipulated by critics of the Church, or by those with an agenda. Instead, he identified “leftists.” Much the same could be said about those who have sought to exploit the homosexual scandal here at home.
Professional victims’ groups such as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), along with their steeple-chasing lawyer/donors—Jeffrey Anderson is the worst of many—are leftists who hate the Catholic Church. Ditto for bishopaccountability.org, a partisan website that is anything but fair. Left-wing journalists at the National Catholic Reporter, which rejects the Church’s teachings on sexuality, have also exploited this issue. Much the same could be said about leftists in the secular media, both reporters and pundits.
Too many bishops and priests have been falsely accused by those with a left-wing agenda to dismiss the pope’s concerns. We commend him for his courage.