A priest in Osorno, Chile offered a “Mass of Hope” yesterday in opposition to the controversial newly installed bishop of the diocese. The parish priest is joining his voice with other clergy and laity in continuing to oppose Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.
Madrid, appointed by Pope Francis this year, is alleged to have covered up priestly sex abuse more than 20 years ago by one of Chile's most notorious pedophiles. Father Fernando Karadima was convicted in 2011 of abusing altar boys about two decades ago, and was sanctioned to a life of penitence and prayer. Abuse victims claim Madrid knew about the abuse and in one case even witnessed it, but instead shielded the predator priest.
News of Madrid's appointment in January to the Osorno diocese provoked outrage among sex abuse victims as well as thousands of Catholics in Chile, who have held multiple demonstrations against the bishop. In addition to a loud public protest, his installation Mass was met by a boycott of the priests of the diocese.
To date, at least 1,300 laymen, 30 priests, and almost half of Parliament have written the Holy Father asking him to replace Madrid. And a panel of advisors commissioned to counsel the Pope on sex abuse of minors also voiced concerns, claiming the voice of Chileans is being ignored.
In spite of this, the Pope continues to back his appointment.