SANTIAGO – The archbishop of Malta concluded on Wednesday a mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis to gather information about Bishop Juan Barros, accused of covering up acts of sexual abuse committed by an influential priest.
Jaime Coiro, spokesperson for the Chilean bishops conference, said that Archbishop Charles Scicluna will leave the country on Thursday.
Scicluna was “very grateful” for having a “serene dialogue” in a “climate of respect and trust” with people who had information about Barros, Coiro said.
Pope Francis sent Scicluna to Chile to talk to individuals who knew about Barros and his alleged cover up of acts of sexual abuse committed years ago by the Rev. Fernando Karadima.
Scicluna began his meetings on Feb. 20, but had to interrupt his mission the next day to undergo emergency surgery at a hospital in the Chilean capital.
Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest working on Scicluna’s team, was put in charge of the mission during the few days the prelate was hospitalized.
Scicluna and Bertomeu met with some of Karadima’s victims, Bishop Barros’ detractors and leaders of the Chilean church, including Barros himself.
The envoys will now submit a report to Pope Francis.