THE special envoy sent to Chile by the Pope to investigate allegations of a sex abuse cover-up is in hospital after taking ill in the country.

The problems affecting Charles Scicluna are not extremely serious, “but neither are we dealing with a very simple ailment”, Catholic bishop’s conference spokesman Jaime Coiro said.

The Maltese bishop began meeting victims and others opposed to the appointment of a bishop, Juan Barros, accused of covering up for the country’s most notorious paedophile priest, Fernando Karadima.

Karadima was found guilty of sexual abuse in 2011 by the Vatican.

Pope Francis controversially said there was no evidence against Juan Barros, whom he had appointed to the post of bishop of the southern Chilean city of Osorno in 2015, during a visit to the country last month.

The Pope subsequently apologised and appointed Vatican investigator Scicluna to examine claims of a cover-up.

Coiro said the pope has called for interviews with witnesses to continue from Wednesday through to Friday as planned.

A Spanish priest who is assisting Bishop Scicluna will take part.