Expressing closeness

Expressing closeness

Pope Francis moved by the abuse scandal in Chile © Angelo Carconi

The processing of the abuse scandal in Chile continues. Pope Francis plans to meet with another group of victims in early June. They are five clergymen from the circle of the convicted priest Fernando Karadima.

The group will be accompanied by two other priests as well as two lay people who have been involved with the case, the Vatican announced on Tuesday evening.

Most of them had also been interlocutors with papal special envoys Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Jordi Bertomeu during their investigation in Chile in February, the Vatican said.

Expressing closeness to victims

With the meeting of 1. to 3. June, which was already agreed upon a month ago, Pope Francis wants to express his closeness to the victims. At the same time, he said, he wanted to hear from them on how best to design necessary preventive measures. The meeting will conclude the first phase of the pope's encounters with abuse victims, the Vatican statement said.

New abuse case

Meanwhile, the Chilean church is shaken by a new case of abuse. The daily newspaper "La Tercera" reported on Tuesday (local time) that, according to a report by the Canal 13 channel, the Public Prosecutor's Office has opened an investigation against a group of Catholic clergy in the diocese of Rancagua.

According to the information, the priests' association, which operated under the name "La Familia" and consisted of 17 clergymen, is accused of sexual abuse of young people. In the report, among other things, nude photos of a clergyman were published, which he is said to have sent to young people via online chats. The local newspaper "El Rancaguino" commented that the diocese is experiencing the most serious crisis in its history.

Clergy suspended

In an initial response, Rancagua's Bishop Alejandro Goic had suspended about a dozen clergy members. He admitted to the portal "Biobiochile" on Tuesday that he had heard "in jest" of such incidents in the group "La Familia", but there had never been a concrete accusation.

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