Facade of the Apostolic Nunciature in the Chilean capital. © Leonardo Rubilar
After Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Bishop Celestino Aos has become the new interim leader of the Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago. Now he, too, is accused of concealing abuse cases.
A former seminarian accuses the interim leader of the Archdiocese of Santiago, Bishop Celestino Aos, of covering up a case of abuse, according to a report in the daily newspaper La Nacion. Mauricio Pulgar, a member of the Association of Victims of Sexual Abuse by Church Members group, told CNN Chile on Monday (local time) that he contacted the Papal Nunciature in 2012 and reported a case of abuse there.
Never an intention for the truth
Aos had been responsible for the investigation of the case, but had not informed him of the state of the investigation or given him the opportunity to present evidence. "He never had the intention of finding out the truth," Pulgar said. A statement of Aos to the reproach did not give it on Monday yet.
Pope Francis had appointed Aos "apostolic administrator" of the Archdiocese of Santiago on Saturday. The same day it had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati (77), who is accused of covering up abuse cases. Ezzati is under investigation by the Chilean public prosecutor's office. Aos, 74, is a member of the Capuchin Order. Until now, he was bishop of Copiapo in northern Chile. He is also a psychologist and canon lawyer by training.
Documents to the prosecutor's office
As was further revealed over the weekend, the Vatican transferred files to the prosecutor's office in Santiago. It was a "partial response" to a request for legal assistance, the Justice Department said. According to the report, more than 20 documents totaling more than 200 pages were received on Friday. Reports say agency is investigating 158 cases of abuse against 219 church workers. The alleged victims involve 241 people, of whom 123 were minors at the time of the crime, he said.