Church’s of­fices raided over abuse

Irish Examiner - - World News -

Pros­e­cu­tors have seized doc­u­ments in raids on Ro­man Catholic Church of­fices in two cities in Chile as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into grow­ing clergy sex abuse scan­dals.

The move came as Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors met with Chile’s at­tor­ney gen­eral to dis­cuss co-oper­a­tion into on­go­ing probes.

The sur­prise raids tar­geted the head­quar­ters of San­ti­ago’s Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal Court and the dio­cese in Rancagua in the O’Hig­gins re­gion, where 14 pri­ests are ac­cused of hav­ing had sex­ual re­la­tions with mi­nors.

They came hours be­fore two en­voys sent by Pope Fran­cis met with Chilean pros­e­cu­tors, in­clud­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral Jorge Ab­bott, to co-or­di­nate their re­sponse to scan­dals that have dis­cred­ited Chile’s church.

Last month all of the coun­try’s 30-plus ac­tive bish­ops of­fered to re­sign over their col­lec­tive guilt in fail­ing to pro­tect chil­dren from abu­sive pri­ests.

“The com­mit­ment is to a greater col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the in­sti­tu­tions,” said Mr Ab­bott.

He added that church and civil­ian au­thor­i­ties are go­ing to set up a sys­tem that will pro­vide vic­tims with the pro­tec­tion needed to come for­ward and freely lodge com­plaints.

Mr Ab­bott said pros­e­cu­tors met some re­sis­tance in the Rancagua raid, though they were sat­is­fied with the in­for­ma­tion seized in both oper­a­tions.

He added that in the com­ing days pros­e­cu­tors will ask the Vat­i­can for any in­for­ma­tion it has related to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Car­di­nal Ricardo Ez­zati, the arch­bishop of San­ti­ago, said church of­fi­cials “gave the pros­e­cu­tor all the re­quested doc­u­men­ta­tion”.

He added that they are “avail­able to co-op­er­ate with the civil­ian jus­tice sys­tem in all that is re­quired”.

Pros­e­cu­tor Emil­iano Arias, who led the search in San­ti­ago, said the church raids show that in Chile “we are all sub­ject to com­mon jus­tice”.

The Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors in Chile — Arch­bishop Charles Sci­cluna and Span­ish Mon­signor Jordi Ber­tomeu — had ear­lier put to­gether a 2,300-page re­port that prompted Pope Fran­cis to re­alise he had mis­judged the Chilean sit­u­a­tion.

On Monday, Fran­cis be­gan purg­ing Chile’s Catholic hi­er­ar­chy over the avalanche of sex abuse and cover-up cases, start­ing with ac­cept­ing the res­ig­na­tions of the bishop at the cen­tre of the scan­dal and two oth­ers.

Pic­ture: PA

Ali­son Ch­abloz, who re­ceived a sus­pended jail term af­ter writ­ing and per­form­ing songs which mocked the Holo­caust.

Pic­ture: AP

Pope Fran­cis: Mis­judged scale of abuse cover-up.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.