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News > Latin America

Chile: Catholic Church Asks Forgiveness For Sexual Abuse

  • The deputy bishop of Santiago's archdiocese, Fernando Ramos (R), and the spokesperson of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, Jaime Coiro (L), in Chile, August 3, 2018.

    The deputy bishop of Santiago's archdiocese, Fernando Ramos (R), and the spokesperson of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, Jaime Coiro (L), in Chile, August 3, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 3 August 2018

The Episcopal Conference of Chile announced measures to repair the victims and help in investigations.

Chile's Catholic Church asked victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy for forgiveness on Friday and announced measures to repair the damage and prevent further violations, including publishing its own internal investigations.


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On Friday, 34 bishops from the Episcopal Conference of Chile (CECh) wrapped up a five-day assembly in Punta de Tralca, in which they discussed the ongoing sex abuse scandals engulfing the church.

The president of the CECh, Santiago Silva, said the church had made a mistake by "not listening, believing, addressing or accompanying the victims of serious sins and injustices committed by priests and religious people.

"Sometimes we don't react on time to the painful sexual, power and authority abuses, and we're asking for forgiveness from the victims and survivors."

The bishop said the church will now publish every previous investigation regarding sexual abuse within the institution, and that CECh will collaborate with the Public Ministry by sharing information.

The bishops said some clergy members could have been "more active and attentive to the pain suffered by the victims, relatives and the ecclesiastic community."

The CECh then published a list of 42 priests and a deacon convicted of sexually abusing minors, either by civilian courts or within the church itself.

The list, published on the CECh website, includes the full names and positions of 17 priests and a deacon sentenced by civilian courts and 25 priests sentenced by the church for crimes committed against minors while in ecclesiastical office.


Chile Sex-Abuse Victim: 'Vatican Investigation Must Be Fair'

The list includes Fernando Karadima, who headed the El Bosque parish for decades and trained several bishops. The parish is located in the wealthy neighborhood of Providencia and Karadima enjoyed good relations with Santiago's social elite. He has been convicted of covering up sexual abuses cases against minors within the church.

The CECh also agreed to implement a "good treatment protocol" to improve relations between the church and local communities, which will be published on April 19 along with a new behavior code for priests.

And it announced new responsibilities for the National Council of Abuse Prevention and Victims Accompaniment, founded by the church in 2011.

The Public Ministry is currently investigating 38 cases, involving 73 accused and 104 victims, most of them underage.

Chile's Catholic church is under fire for multiple cases of sexual abuse and concealment, which sparked widespread protests during Pope Francis' visit in January.

Pope Francis had initially tried to downplay the allegations, but changed his position following an investigation by Archbishop Charles Scicluna, sent to Chile by the Vatican.

After the report, Pope Francis called the CECh bishops to Rome to discuss the issue, which led to the collective resignations of several. So far, the pontiff has only accepted five of those resignations.

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