Two new ones

Two new ones

Pope Francis has appointed two new archbishops for the Church in Chile, which has been rocked by an abuse scandal. The leadership had become vacant after the incumbent bishops resigned in the wake of the abuse scandal.

Capuchin Celestino Aos Braco (74), who has been the diocese's transitional leader since last March, will be the head pastor of the capital city's archdiocese of Santiago de Chile. Archbishop of Puerto Montt in southern Chile becomes Luis Fernando Ramos Perez (60), previously administrator in the diocese of Rancagua. The Vatican press office and the Archdiocese of Santiago announced the personnel decisions at the same time.

Still eight transitional leaders in Chile

Aos had been appointed apostolic administrator by the pope after Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati relinquished leadership of the Santiago archdiocese amid allegations of cover-ups. The former archbishop of Puerto Montt, Cristian Caro Cordero, had retired in June 2018 at age 75. His current successor, Ramos, had been an auxiliary bishop in Santiago since 2014 and was installed as apostolic administrator in Rancagua in June 2018 in the wake of the abuse scandal.

Of the 27 Catholic administrative units in Chile, eight are currently still staffed by a transitional leader. Because of the abuse scandal, 29 of 31 acting bishops in the country had offered their resignation in May 2018.

Chile investigates more than 150 suspected cases

The Chilean church has been rocked for years by a serious abuse scandal. Fernando Karadima (89), who has since been dismissed from the clergy, plays a key role. In 2011 he was convicted of sexual offenses. Several bishops emerged from his circle, several of whom have since resigned.

According to media reports, Chile's judiciary is currently investigating 219 church employees in more than 150 suspected cases of abuse. The alleged victims include 241 people, 123 of whom were minors at the time of the crime.

Administrative assistance for the public prosecutor's office

Most recently, investigating authorities in Chile had welcomed the lifting of papal secrecy in abuse cases. The public prosecutor's office had asked the Vatican for administrative assistance in five specific cases. Also CharlesScicluna, who was in charge of prosecuting abuses at Rome's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2002 to 2012, endorsed Pope Francis' decision.

Scicluna was commissioned by the pope as a special investigator in Chile's abuse scandal in early 2018; in November 2018, Francis appointed him associate secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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