Juan Barros Madrid

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Juan Barros Madrid
Bishop Emeritus of Osorno
ChurchRoman Catholic
ArchdiocesePuerto Montt
Appointed10 January 2015
Installed21 March 2015
Term ended11 June 2018
PredecessorRené Osvaldo Rebolledo Salinas
Ordination29 June 1984
by Juan Francisco Fresno
Consecration29 June 1995
by Jorge Medina, Juan Francisco Fresno, Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca
Personal details
Born (1956-07-15) July 15, 1956 (age 66)
Previous post(s)Military Ordinary of Chile,
Bishop of Iquique,
Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso
MottoFiat Voluntas tua

Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid (born 15 July 1956) is a Chilean prelate of the Catholic Church. He was Bishop of Osorno from 2015 to 2018. He was Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso from 1995 to 2000, Bishop of Iquique from 2000 to 2004, and Military Ordinary of Chile from 2004 to 2015.

He took up his position in Osorno amid controversy and protests over his close relationship with Fernando Karadima, whom the Church has found guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

Early years[edit]

Juan Barros was born on 15 July 1956 in Santiago de Chile. He studied at College St. Ignatius El Bosque, and joined the Union of the Sacred Heart led by Karadima.[citation needed] After studying economics and administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, he entered the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Chile where he studied philosophy and theology.[1]

Beginning in 1983 he served as private secretary to the Archbishop of Santiago Juan Francisco Fresno and was later accused while in that position of protecting Karadima from charges of sexual abuse. In 1984 a group of parishioners reported "improper conduct" on the part of Karadima to Juan Francisco Fresno, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile.[a] One of them later told a court that he learned that their letter was "torn up and thrown away".[2][3]

He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1984 and then performed parish work while also working for the Episcopal Conference of Chile. He earned a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in 1994.[1]

On 22 April 1990, he became pastor of Our Lady of Peace parish in Ñuñoa and on 21 March 1993 he became pastor of San Gabriel in the Pudahuel. In May 1993 he was appointed Director of the Ecclesiastical Area of the Episcopal Conference of Chile.[citation needed]

Pope John Paul II named him Titular Bishop Bilta and Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso on 12 April 1995 and he was consecrated a bishop in Valparaíso Cathedral on 29 June.[4] He chose as his episcopal motto "Fiat Voluntas tua" (Your will be done). John Paul named him Bishop of Iquique on 21 November 2000[4] and he was installed there on 27 December.

On 9 October 2004 John Paul named him Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of Chile,[5] and he took office on 26 November, when he was also invested as Brigadier General of the Army of Chile.

Bishop of Osorno[edit]

Pope Francis named him Bishop of Osorno on 10 January 2015.[1] Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, tried to have Francis withdraw the appointment. Barros was criticized for his connection to Fr. Fernando Karadima, who had been accused by multiple people of sexual misconduct. Some alleged victims claimed that Barros was present during Karadima's sexual acts, with one even saying that he participated in them.[6] After several Chilean bishops questioned the appointment, Francis wrote privately to the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Chile explaining that he understood the appointment would be controversial but that a plan to allow the bishops with ties to Karadima to take a sabbatical year to ease their reassignment had fallen through.[7] Local protests and candlelight vigils and a petition to the papal nuncio on the part of 30 of the 41 priests of the diocese and deacons of the diocese were unsuccessful in blocking Barros' appointment, as was a letter signed by 51 members of the National Congress.[6] The Vatican issued a rare statement defending Barro's appointment on 31 March, just a single sentence.[8][9] Protestors stormed the cathedral to disrupt Barros' installation there in March.[3] Most of Chile's bishops did not attend the installation ceremony as is customary.[6] According to Francis, Barros later offered to resign on two occasions.[10] Parishioners continued to protest Barros' appointment by withholding donations or leaving a church where he appeared. Other lay groups found themselves energized to fight what one called their "revictimization" and to campaign for their voices to be heard in the selection of their bishop.[6]

While visiting Chile in from 15 to 18 January 2018, Pope Francis apologized for the "irreparable damage" caused by priests' abuse of minors. Victims of abuse rejected his apology and repeated their claims that bishops who protected abusers continue to hold positions in the church hierarchy in Chile. They objected especially to Francis allowing Juan Barros to celebrate mass alongside him.[11] On 19 January, Francis defended Barros, saying: "The day someone brings me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. But there is not one single piece of evidence. It is all slander. Is that clear?" Some Chilean bishops supported the pope and agreed the Church should focus on victims of abuse, while Benito Baranda, a prominent social activist who coordinated of the pope's visit to Chile, said Barros should be removed and that the pope's language "reignites the feeling of not being believed, or that they are exaggerating or being deceitful."[12] The next day, while giving Francis credit for supporting many efforts to reduce and punish sexual abuse on the part of clergy, Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley criticized the pope's comments as "a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator".[13][14]

On 22 January 2018 Pope Francis spoke at length about the charges against Barros. He said that "The Barros case was examined and reexamined, but there is no evidence. That is what I wanted to say. I don't have the evidence needed to convict."[15][16] Several members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors later reported that they had presented O'Malley with an 8-page letter from Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Barros' accusers, and that O'Malley later assured them he had given it to Francis. This contradicted Francis's earlier claims that he had not heard statements from any victims. "You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven't seen any, because they haven't come forward," he had previously said.[17][18]

On 30 January, in response to continued public outcry, the Vatican announced that Francis was assigning Charles J. Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta to investigate the Barros case anew. Scicluna has been the Vatican's leading investigator in a number of high-profile sex abuse cases, including that of Marcial Maciel.[19][b] Scicluna did not restrict his investigation to the Barros case. In February, assisted by Jordi Bertomeu from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he conducted interviews with victims of sexual abuse and other witnesses, received documents and the results of previous government investigations, and met with a delegation from Osorno who opposed Barros continuing as their bishop.[21][22][23] On 8 April, Francis sent a letter inviting the bishops of Chile to meet with him in Rome to consider Scicluna's report and help him decide how to reform the Church in Chile. He admitted he had "made serious mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation" and wrote: "I now beg the forgiveness of all those whom I have offended".[24][25][26]

When Francis met with 34 Chilean bishops in May, he made them focus on the roots of the sex abuse scandal in elitist attitudes and the Church's loss of missionary spirit. He asked for deeper reform and though he promised changes of personnel the Karadima and Barros cases were seen as symptoms of far greater problems.[27] At the conclusion, all the active bishops and auxiliaries submitted their resignations in writing.[28]

Pope Francis accepted Barros' resignation on 11 June 2018 over the growing Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in Chile.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fresno became a cardinal in 1985.
  2. ^ Scicluna is also President of the College for the examination of appeals in matters of delicta graviora within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which gives him responsibility for final appeals in clerical sex abuse cases.[20]


  1. ^ a b c "Rinunce e Nomine, 10.01.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  2. ^ Barrioneuvo, Alexei; Bonnefoy, Pascale (October 27, 2010). "Handling of Abuse in Chilean Church Questioned". New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Bonnefoy, Pascale (March 21, 2015). "Angry Protest Over New Bishop in Chile". New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Rinunce e Nomine, 21.11.2000" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. November 21, 2000. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 09.10.2004" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. October 9, 2004. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Ivereigh, Austen (July 7, 2015). "Controversial Chilean bishop's appointment continues to divide diocese". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Veraga, Eva; Winfield, Nicole (January 12, 2018). "Pope letter details concern over Chile bishop". National Catholic Reporter. Associated Press and Religion News Service. Retrieved April 28, 2018. This letter became public in January 2018.
  8. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (March 31, 2015). "Vatican: No 'objective reasons' to preclude appointment of Chilean bishop". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved April 28, 2018. The Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate's candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.
  9. ^ "Dichiarazione del Vice Direttore della Sala Stampa, P. Ciro Benedettini, C.P., 31.03.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. March 31, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  10. ^ San Martín, Inés (April 21, 2018). "In wake of abuse scandal, bishops of Chile talk resignation". Crux. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Londoño, Ernesto (January 16, 2018). "In Chile, Pope Francis Apologizes for 'Irreparable Damage' Caused by Sexual Abuse". New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  12. ^ Bonnefoy, Pascale; Ramzy, Austin (January 19, 2018). "Pope's Defense of Chilean Bishop in Sex Abuse Scandal Causes Outrage". New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Allen, Evan (January 20, 2018). "Cardinal O'Malley speaks out against pope's comment to sex abuse victims in Chile". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (January 22, 2018). "Francis says comments on sexual abuse in Chile were 'not the best'". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "Conferenza Stampa del Santo Padre nel volo di ritorno dal Viaggio Apostolico in Cile e Perù, 23.01.2018". Holy See Press Office. Retrieved April 28, 2018. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) The text of the multi-lingual press conference is provided in several languages.
  16. ^ "Pope apologises to sex abuse victims, defends accused Chilean bishop". The Tablet. Catholic News Service. January 22, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Winfield, Nicole; Veraga, Eva (February 5, 2018). "Pope Francis received sex abuse victim's letter, contradicting denial". National Catholic Reporter. Religion News Service and Associated Press. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  18. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (April 13, 2015). "Vatican abuse commission members: O'Malley passing concerns to Francis". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Pope Francis sends envoy to Chile to investigate sexual abuse claims". The Guardian. Associated Press. January 30, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Fair, Jim (January 30, 2018). "Archbishop will go to Santiago to Conduct Examination". Zenit. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Feuerherd, Peter (February 17, 2018). "Vatican investigator meets with Chilean abuse victim in New York". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  22. ^ Badilla, Luis (February 20, 2018). "Papal envoy Scicluna's first day in Chile, over 20 audiences scheduled". La Stampa. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  23. ^ Vargas, Giselle (February 28, 2018). "Caso Barros: Enviado papal termina su misión en Chile y valora clima de confianza". ACI Prensa. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  24. ^ "Letter sent by the Holy Father to the Bishops of Chile following the report of Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna". Holy See Press Office. April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  25. ^ Noack, Rick (April 12, 2018). "Pope admits 'grave error,' apologizes for not believing Chilean sex abuse victims". Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  26. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (April 11, 2018). "Francis admits 'serious mistakes' in handling of Chile abuse cases". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  27. ^ O'Connell, Gerard (May 18, 2018). "In private letter, Pope Francis told Chilean bishops their church's "sin became the center of attention"". America. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  28. ^ "Declaración de los Obispos de la Conferencia Episcopal de Chile, en Roma". Conferencia Episcopal de Chile (in Spanish). Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  29. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 11.06.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Iquique
Succeeded by
Preceded by Military Ordinary of Chile
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Osorno