Protest banner about the abuse scandal on a house wall in Lima © Paul Haring (KNA)
In Chile, the capital diocese of Santiago has created a new body to deal with its abuse scandal. In order to be able to react more quickly in the future, a lawyer strengthens the new episcopal delegation for truth and peace.
The task of the lawyer from the Pontifical University in Santiago will include assessing allegations, accompanying victims and cooperating with civil authorities, the archdiocese said, according to Chilean media reports. It is a matter of building new trust.
The abuse scandal in Chile has been making headlines for months. The focus is on Fernando Karadima, now 88, a priest who was convicted of sexual offenses in 2011. Several bishops emerged from his circle, including Juan Barros of Osorno, accused by victims of Karadima of complicity.
More than 100 open cases
According to the public prosecutor's office, there are currently more than 100 open cases of abuse in the ranks of Chile's Catholic Church. Dozens of priests, including bishops are said to be involved.
Pope Francis had sent a special envoy to Chile to clarify the allegations and summoned the entire Chilean Bishops' Conference to the Vatican. Meanwhile, Francis accepted six other resignations from bishops in addition to Barros' resignation. Recently, the two Chilean cardinals Ricardo Ezzati (76) and Francisco Errazuriz (85) also became the focus of criticism. They are accused of covering up abuse cases in Santiago archdiocese. Both reject the accusations.