JUST IN: Pope Threatened As Three Churches Firebombed, “Next Bombs Will Be In Your Cassock”

Pope Francis arrived in Chile to churches being firebombed and personal threats.

Usually, the Pope visiting a primarily Catholic country is a celebrated event. This is not the case in Chile as protestors prepare to take on Pope Francis. They are pushing for changes to be made within the church as it relates to protecting children from sexual abuse and punishing members of the church who abuse them.

The protests have taken a violent turn even before Pope Francis arrives in Santiago. Three Catholic churches were firebombed on Friday with warnings about more violence to come. It was reasonably easy for authorities to connect the three bombings as there was a note left at each church. Each letter warned, “…the next bombs will be in your cassock.”

A cassock is the “…close-fitting ankle-length garment worn especially in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches by the clergy.” This is a direct threat to the Pope and the highly visible traditional robe he wears during his country visits.

While many have celebrated the liberal views of Pope Francis, he has also come under fire for his policies concerning sexual abuse within the church. According to protest organizer Juan Carlos Cruz, “…his record is a disaster. People are absolutely disgusted with the way he’s handled abuse and how he’s treated us.”

Cruz is a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a church leader. He is also a resident of Chile who has gathered a significant amount of support for the protest efforts. The police have not made a direct link between the scheduled protests via groups like the one organized by Cruz and the firebomb attacks.

Protestors have already taken up shop in the Vatican Embassy where the Pope will stay during his visit. There have been widespread protests concerning the cost of the visit as well. It seems many in the area are not happy with the liberal Pope costing millions to visit an area overwhelmed by sexual abuse.

A great deal of the anger towards the Pope centers around the sexual abuse allegations of Rev. Fernando Karadima. The allegations date back to 2010 against the influential church leader. He was well known for taking the Catholic church to the elite in Santiago. Fr. Karadima was accused of molesting minors over several decades.

In 2011, a Vatican inquiry found that the allegations against Fr. Karadima were in fact true. He was guilty of decades of abuse towards minors and was sentenced to “… a life of prayer and penitence.”

Even after the church found him guilty of the crimes, local authorities are Chile declined to handle the case. They pointed to the fact that the oldest allegations involving Fr. Karadima dated back to 1980 and were beyond the statute of limitations. The fact that the church waited so long to follow up on the abuse enraged many locals.

According to local authorities, Fr. Karadima is still living in the local Santiago area. He is a source of on-going turmoil and pain for many of his local victims. He last appeared openly in public in a 2015 court case brought by three of his victims.

Pope Francis became a part of this scandal in 2015. He made a move to appoint Bishop Juan Barros to lead the diocese of Osorno. Bishop Barros was connected to Fr. Karadima while serving under him in Santiago.

There are many that point to the fact the Bishop Barros knew about the years of abuse and even witnessed some of it. Many within the local church accused him of not reporting the abuse or helping the young victims. Bishop Barros denies any connection or knowledge of the abuse. Many people within the church contend this is not true.

Because of the ties to Fr. Karadima, there was a backlash before Bishop Barros even took over in Osorno. The area is normally very peaceful as it is a small and sparsely populated area in southern Patagonia. The locals were overwhelmed and disgusted by the protests that followed Bishop Barros to his first day at work.

During his first Mass is Osorno in 2015, protestors arrived with black balloons to pray for the victims. They also shouted demands that he resign immediately.

Pope Francis was quick to address the concerns about Bishop Barros, but not in the way many expected him to react. Instead of even listening to the concerns or acknowledging the victims, the Pope seemed to lash out at the crowds. According to statements made by the Pope, the protestors were being “foolish,” and they should try harder not to “be led by the nose by the leftists.”

Pope Francis at the time turned the protests into a political event, and many felt this down-played the abuse. The Vatican has long denied any wrong-doing by Bishop Barros, and they continue to support the decision to give him the leadership role in Osorno.

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