VATICAN CITY – The retired archbishop of Santiago is trying to deflect criticism for Pope Francis' troubled visit to Chile, blaming everything from the summer weather to an "absentee" spokesman for the lower-than-expected turnout and negative press coverage.
Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, a top papal adviser, has written an extraordinary letter to the bishops of Latin America insisting that the January trip wasn't a failure but was "highly positive."
In the letter, first reported Friday by the National Catholic Reporter, Errazuriz took no responsiblility for the lingering effects of the sex abuse scandal involving the Rev. Fernando Karadima on Chilean Catholics. Errazuriz initially shelved the investigation.
He accused Karadima's victims of trying to profit from their accusations of a coverup by a Karadima protege at the center of a Vatican inquiry, Bishop Juan Barros.