|Hundreds protested inside the Osorno cathedral as |
Rev Juan Barros arrived to be ordained
Protesters in southern Chile have tried to stop the ordination of a Catholic bishop, accusing him of covering up a priest's sexual abuse of young boys.
Police in the city of Osorno said at least 650 people turned up at the cathedral wearing black in protest against the ordination of Juan Barros.
The protesters say Bishop Barros used his position in the Church to try to deter an investigation into the actions of his mentor, Fernando Karadima.
Bishop Barros denies the allegations.
Last Monday he sent a letter to priests saying: "I never had knowledge of, or could have imagined, the serious abuses that this priest committed against the victims."
Is he telling the truth, or has he just added lying to his list of unrepented sins?
Before boarding a plane in Santiago, Bishop Barros, 58, said he had "confidence in the future".
|Supporters of the new bishop, wearing white and holding white balloons, |
tried to stop the protest
More than 1,000 people wrote to Pope Francis to ask him to review the appointment.
"I believe the Catholic Church is not listening to its people," said Christian Democrat congressman Sergio Ojeda.
"That is why we are asking for Bishop Barros to show dignity and resign, putting an end to this tremendous problem," he told La Tercera newspaper.
|Bishop Juan Barros (third from the left) was appointed bishop by Pope Francis |
The top leaders of Chile's Catholic Church and most of the local authorities stayed away, but the ceremony went ahead in the morning in Osorno, some 900km (560 miles) south of the capital, Santiago.
Protesters outside and inside the cathedral attempted to stop the ordination going ahead.
There was a heavy police presence there and three people were arrested.
Supporters of Bishop Barros also attended the ordination and said he was a good man, misunderstood by many.
|July 2011, Reverend Fernando Karadima|
Juan Barros was a protege of Father Karadima, who spent decades training young men to enter the priesthood, and regularly celebrated Mass at a well-known church in Santiago.
In February 2011, the Vatican found Father Karadima, then 81, guilty of sexually abusing children.
The Vatican ordered him to a life of "penitence and prayer" in a monastery in Santiago.
Months later, a judge dismissed a criminal case against him, saying the alleged crimes had been committed too many years before.
Chile is intensely Catholic! Judges, prosecutors, etc., are more than likely to be Catholic and therefore sympathetic to priests and bishops regardless of their warped desires and actions. As well they may feel protective of the image of the church. Unfortunately, that puts the church above both children and God Himself.
The BBC's Gideon Long, in Santiago, says that before the allegations surfaced, Father Karadima was one of the most respected and influential priests in Chile.
What is ordination? Wikipedia: Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies.
It's the term 'set apart' that is interesting. 'Set apart' is also a definition of 'to sanctify'. Sanctify is also defined as 'consecrate' or 'to make sacred' or 'declare holy'.
Priests are ordained, as are bishops, but are they made holy, sacred? Certainly not the many pedophiles or the bishops who covered-up their crimes and even enabled them by moving them to other parishes when their perversion was exposed. There is nothing holy in that.
Perhaps I'm too idealistic, but I believe that God has a place in ordinations. He commanded Moses to 'sanctify' the items that would be placed in the tabernacle, and they became 'holy', for tabernacle use only.
Where is God in the ordination of men of questionable character? Did He command the Pope to ordain Barros, or Karadima for that matter? Is the ordination of a priest or bishop without the participation of God anything more than a hollow ceremony and an exercise in paperwork?
How lightly we take God sometimes!