Amid Criticism of Vatican's Handling, Pope Revives Sex Abuse Commission

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The initial three-year mandate of commission members had lapsed two months ago.

US Cardinal Sean O'Malley was confirmed as the head of the child protection panel along with seven other incumbent members, while nine new members were added, the Vatican said. "'I think it is good to talk with Monsignor Scicluna, because it is apart from the awful Chilean cardinals (Francisco Javier) Errázuriz and (Ricardo) Ezzati", he noted.

When he made the announcement on Thursday, Pope Francis joked that he and former pontiff Benedict, who resigned in 2013 and is now 90 years old, "are on the waiting list".

The announcement of the new members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors came on the same day that a Vatican investigator will take the testimony in NY of one of the main whistleblowers in the Chilean cover-up scandal.

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Cruz and two others have said Barros witnessed the abuse Karadima inflicted on them and ignored it. Barros has denied seeing or knowing of any abuse. Barros has always denied this and said he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Karadima, who had trained him to become a priest.

"For the first time I feel that someone is listening", said Cruz, who now lives in Philadelphia and works for a large multinational company in nearby Delaware.

Cruz said he was "emotionally drained" but felt empathy from Scicluna and another priest from the Vatican's doctrinal office in Rome who also took part in the meeting.

"I don't know how to use the internet". Some of them will also be interviewed by Scicluna, he added. Cruz told Radio Cooperativa that he will attend the meeting with confidence and hope in the investigation that Scicluna will carry out.

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The Karadima case has gripped Chile for years and many Chileans protested the pope's decision to make Barros a bishop in 2015.

Scicluna had planned to speak with him by Skype but switched to an in-person interview in NY after the AP reported that Cruz's letter had been hand-delivered to the pope.

He described how Karadima would kiss Barros and fondle his genitals, and do the same with younger priests and teens, and how young priests and seminarians would fight to sit next to Karadima at the table to receive his affections.

He added: "It was a long, emotionally hard meeting, but I am very happy to have been able to speak with Mr. Scicluna, they behaved incredibly well".

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