Where to begin, where to begin??? Pope Francis appoints Bishop Juan Barros the bishop of Osorno, in Chile. There are allegations that he covered-up for a priest in the sexual abuse of a minor. Is it true? The people of the diocese think it is true. They disrupted the ceremony installing him as bishop. His miter was pulled off his head by rioters. How can a bishop lead a flock, (the people of Osorno), if the flock does not like him, trust him or respect him? At this point, maybe sadly, it does not matter if he did or didn’t cover up sexual abuse Bishop Barros’ reputation for supporting the commandments of God, based on the allegations of a cover-up, has shattered his reputation.
As unpopular as it is to say in this incredibly screwed up culture that we live in there are many things in the Church teachings that are black and white. There is no gray area in such issues as abortion, procuring an abortion is always a sin, or sex before or outside of marriage is a sin, (heterosexual or homosexual), or disbelief in the true presence of God in the Eucharist, (Protestant belief), these are all issues without gray areas even if society tries to push sin as tolerance. They are issues that are black and white.
The issue of a priest going against the teachings of the Church by engaging in sexual behavior with others is anathema. Weakness and sin will always be part of the state of human beings. Repentance for that sin goes a long way with God, after all we are all sinners. However if that sexual sin also happens to be with a minor and also breaks the law being repentant and forgiven by God is not enough. Just ask anyone who has been sexually abused or ask the people of Osorno. They seem to ‘get it’ and do not want someone to shepherd them who does not seem to ‘get it’ (How many present and past bishops do not understand the gravity of abuse?)
I am discouraged that the men of the Church still do not understand the harm of abuse and the subsequent cover-up.