The Catholic archbishop of Malta will visit Osorno from Tuesday, February 20, through Friday, February 23. Pope Francis ordered the archbishop to conduct an investigation into sexual abuse allegations in the area, including into Osorno’s bishop. The envoy will meet with members of the population and priests during the fact-finding mission. Protests are possible in Osorno as well as in other cities, such as the capital Santiago, during the visit.
Osorno’s bishop has been accused of failing to report sexual abuse by other Catholic priests in Chile in 2011. However, he has denied being aware of any such abuse. He was made a diocesan bishop in 2015 in Osorno despite protests from priests and residents in the area.
Tensions have been high against the Catholic church in Chile over the abuse investigations. On January 22, unidentified assailants firebombed a church in Lo Espejo (Santiago province), causing minor damage. Between January 12-18, at least 12 other churches in the country were damaged in firebomb attacks.
Individuals in Chile are advised to monitor the situation and avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.