Symbol image abuse in the church © Clearviewstock (shutterstock)
Two years ago, the bishop of San Felipe had resigned. He is under investigation for alleged sexual assault of an adult. New bishop to be confidant of former bishop, victims and lay representatives say.
In Chile, lay people and victims of sexual abuse have criticized the nomination of Gonzalo Arturo Bravo Salazar (57) as new bishop of San Felipe.
As the daily newspaper "El Mostrador" reports, they wrote a letter to Pope Francis to express their "deep concern and pain" about this designation.
Accusations: cover-up and hush money
The signatories accuse Bravo of trying to cover up cases of abuse by offering victims hush money. Bravo had been a confidant of former Valparaiso Bishop Gonzalo Duarte, against whom former seminary students had made accusations of covering up abuse cases.
Pope Francis had appointed two bishops in late May for the Catholic Church in Chile, which has been rocked by abuse scandals.
New appointments after resignations
Bravo is to succeed Cristian Contreras Molina (73) in the San Felipe diocese, whose early resignation was accepted by the head of the church in fall 2018. Contreras had been under investigation by the prosecutor's office for alleged sexual assault of a man of legal age. Contreras denied the allegations. He had presided over the diocese of San Felipe since 2002.
In addition, the pope appointed Julio Esteban Larrondo Yanez, 60, a new auxiliary bishop for the capital's archdiocese of Santiago. The nomination was necessary after Francis appointed several auxiliary bishops of Santiago as temporary administrators in other dioceses whose bishops had resigned in the wake of abuse allegations.