Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­gates af­ter nuns re­port abuse by priests

Tempo - - News - (AP)

The Vat­i­can has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a small Chilean re­li­gious or­der of nuns af­ter some sis­ters de­nounced sex­ual abuse at the hands of priests and mis­treat­ment by their su­pe­ri­ors, a turn­ing point that shows the Holy See is now will­ing to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual vi­o­lence against nuns. The scan­dal at the In­sti­tute of the Good Sa­mar­i­tan was re­vealed pub­licly in an in­ves­tiga­tive re­port by Chilean na­tional tele­vi­sion ear­lier this year at the height of out­rage over how Chilean Catholic hi­er­ar­chy cov­ered up decades of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren by priests.

In the re­port, a half-dozen cur­rent and for­mer nuns said sis­ters were thrown out of the or­der af­ter they de­nounced the abuse to their su­pe­ri­ors. The re­port fol­lowed the sis­ters as they tes­ti­fied be­fore two Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors sent to Chile by Pope Fran­cis to get to the bot­tom of the church-wide scan­dal there. In a state­ment, the Vat­i­can em­bassy to Chile an­nounced that an “apos­tolic visi­ta­tion,” or in­ves­ti­ga­tion, had be­gun Wed­nes­day in the in­sti­tute. It said over the com­ing months the probe would take tes­ti­mony from cur­rent and for­mer sis­ters and those af­fil­i­ated with the in­sti­tute so the Vat­i­can can un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion and make what­ever changes are nec­es­sary.

The in­sti­tute is lo­cated in the dio­cese of Talca, which since 1996 had been headed by Bishop Ho­ra­cio del Car­men Valen­zuela Abarca. Pope Fran­cis removed Valen­zuela as bishop in June as part of his cleanup of the Chilean hi­er­ar­chy. Valen­zuela had been one of the bish­ops trained by Chile’s most in­fa­mous preda­tor priests, the Rev. Fer­nando Karadima.

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