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Rome Reports

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Cardinal O'Malley: Pope Francis' words “are a source of great pain” for abuse survivors

Cardinal Sean O'Malley is president of the commission that proposes policies to the pope and bishops in order to stop clerical sexual abuse and help victims. 

He knows the situation people who have suffered abuse face, and for that reason he publicly responded to the pope for his words.

"The day they bring me evidence against Bishop Barros, I'll begin talking. There is not one piece of evidence against him. Everything is slander. Is that clear?"

According to the cardinal, "it is understandable that Pope Francis' statements... were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse… [because they] convey the message 'if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed.'"

On the other hand, the cardinal has avoided saying anything about the case of Bishop Barros. Juan Barros was the secretary for Fr. Fernando Karadima, a priest condemned by the Church for sexual abuse.

More than one victim has claimed the bishop knew the abuses by the priest and did nothing to report it. Barros denies, saying he was unaware.

On the other hand, Cardinal Sean O'Malley’s statement assures that the pope is sincere with his commitment to zero tolerance for those who commit abuses.

The cardinal's spokesman assured that Sean O'Malley is in Lima, where he is open to meeting with the pope.