Pope Francis Defends Chilean Bishop Accused of Covering up Sexual Abuse

by Antonio Miles January 20, 2018, 5:24
Pope Francis Defends Chilean Bishop Accused of Covering up Sexual Abuse

Francis, who has made the environment and climate change a focus of his almost 5-year-old pontificate, made his appeal while visiting a corner of the Amazon in Peru where pristine rainforest and biodiversity is being blighted by mining and logging, much of it illegal.

Francis formally joined in matrimony 41-year-old Carlos Ciuffardi and Paula Podest, 39, who have two children and are both flight attendants.

The couple explained to the pope how the 2010 natural disaster had damaged the church they had hoped to marry in.

"The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros I'll speak".

Meanwhile, the pope also called for people to "listen" to migrants, whom he said "knock on the doors of this country in search of improvement, and in turn, with the strength and hope of wanting to build a better future for everyone". May this motivate others to get the sacrament of marriage. "I'll do it for this reason".

The 81-year-old Argentinian pontiff married Paola Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi, an air stewardess and steward who work for LatAm airlines.

'The native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present, ' said the pope, who appeared visibly moved by the reception.

The remarkable wedding transpired seemingly spontaneously. "We told him that we are husband and wife, that we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing".

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"We ask you to defend us", she said to applause.

The couple explained that their church's bell tower had fallen during the quake, forcing the cancellation of the church service.

"What the Pope has done today is offensive and painful, and not only against us, but against everyone seeking to end the abuses", he said.

"We are a people robbed of our ancestral lands", said Cesar Jojaje Eriney, 43, leader of the Ese Eja tribe, as he put his feathered headdress in place.

During his trip the pope has met privately with a small group of people sexually abused by priests, after he publicly asked for forgiveness. "But never has a Pope married somebody on a flight", she said.

The pope echoed their concerns, listing oil and gas, mining, logging, industrial agriculture and even conservation programs as activities that do not take indigenous peoples into account, but "strangle" them and force young people to migrate because of a lack of alternatives.

"It's not enough for the pope to ask forgiveness in Chile, if he's not going to listen to the victims", said Athie, an activist with the Network for the Rights of the Victims of Sexual Abuse. "Let us be attentive to those who profit from the irregular status of many immigrants who don't know the language or who don't have their papers in order".

On Saturday, Francis is set to travel to the northwestern city of Trujillo, where he'll say Mass; visit a neighborhood of the city named for his native Argentine city of Buenos Aires; visit the local cathedral; meet with priests, seminarians and religious; and lead a Marian celebration in a local square.

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