On Feb. 5, it came to light that Pope Francis received an eight-page letter in 2015 from a Chilean man, Juan Carlos Cruz, detailing how a priest sexually abused him, and how other priests concealed the crime―among them, then Father Juan Barros, a man Francis had just months earlier appointed to be the bishop of Osorno, Chile.
This revelation comes weeks after Francis called accusations against Barros “calumny”. He eventually walked back his claims and sent a Vatican special prosecutor to Chile to investigate the allegations of a cover-up. But Francis received the letter by hand from Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, one of the church’s top-ranking officials. That he either did not read the letter or did not act on it is a stunning development that represents the biggest crisis of Francis’ nearly five-year papacy. (“Pope Francis has jeopardized his morals” by Christopher J. Hale, p.17)