Pope Francis defends Sean O’Malley’s role in the handling of abuse allegations in Chile

Pope Francis spoke before reporters aboard his helicopter as he flew from Brazil to Vatican City on Tuesday. Asked whether there was tension between him and Chilean Cardinal Sean O’Malley over the latter’s role…

Pope Francis defends Sean O’Malley’s role in the handling of abuse allegations in Chile

Pope Francis spoke before reporters aboard his helicopter as he flew from Brazil to Vatican City on Tuesday. Asked whether there was tension between him and Chilean Cardinal Sean O’Malley over the latter’s role in covering up for Chilean bishops accused of covering up for priests who raped children, the pope said it wasn’t a problem. Instead, he insisted that it was “not surprising” that there were “suspects,” that bishops “can’t always be perfect,” and that investigations had to be taken into “depth” because “one cannot trust a person when he says ‘I didn’t do it.’”

Speaking for just a short moment, the pope added that he was grateful for the global support that journalists had given to “all the victims of sexual abuse,” especially in the Americas. “They are fighting for truth,” the pope added. “Thank you to the journalists, without whom these crimes would not have been exposed.”

Since becoming pope, Francis has embarked on a global effort to reform the Catholic Church, a strategy with which he has come under growing criticism. On Tuesday, the church announced a controversial reform that will keep Catholic clerics and priests who have committed sex abuse in the priesthood. “It may be important for the Church, but it can cause problems for the victims who fear the Church will be too lenient,” Shannon Lumby, the founder of Endangered Voices, a survivors’ support group, told The Guardian.

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