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Extraordinary situation of the Catholic Church in Chile

Saturday 2 June 2018

The international Association of Free Thought informs about the extraordinary situation of the Catholic Church in Chile

There are various cases of abuses of minors by adults of over 50, for which Fernando Karadima and other Catholic clergymen of the Chilean Church have been exposed. The latter founded the El Bosque parish in the eastern sector of Santiago, among the smartest districts of the capital. It was administered by Karadima and that is where sexual abuses – and abuses of power – were carried on according to many denunciations.

For years, the Chilean clergy hardly cared about the many denunciations in this parish and others in the country until an enquiry was set up. Messrs. James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz and Joé Murillo applied insistently to the law on the existence of the numerous abuses of which father Karadima was guilty up to 2010.

A lot of believers followed the different public events during Pope François’s late visit (January 2008). Around the pope, the presence of Archbishop Juan Barros, Karadima’s close friend, who was accused of covering the abuses committed by the latter, provoked indignation and polemics, not only in Chile, but also beyond. At the end of his visit, the pope informed himself precisely, then apologized for minimizing the accusations and ordered an internal enquiry.

Collective fault, collective abdication?

During four meetings in the Vatican, Chilean bishops handed in their resignation «to leave absolute freedom to the pope». The latter committed himself to reaching a decision on these resignations quickly and in the long run to thinking about a re-foundation of the Chilean Church which had been led astray these last thirty years. For this, the pope gave a text to the 34 bishops on Tuesday May 15 at the beginning of the meetings.

The pope’s long document says: «No individual or group as high ranking as they may be can pretend to represent all of God’s people and even less regard himself as being the authentic voice of its interpretation. In this way we must be attentive to what I allow myself to call “crack psychology” which can have an influence on the way to approach issues … this is a clear allusion to the way “the elite have administered the institution these last years, during which the ecclesiastical hierarchy’s views have prevailed over the church of the street, the parishes of districts and the faithful that are far away from the caviar».

With some roughness, Bergoglio indulged in some acknowledgement: «as regards coverage and criminal facts that concern a Church that begins to divide itself, it should cease to center on the ecclesiastic hierarchy and the elite which has coopted it these last three decades».

The pope’s document, that was made public on May 17, indulges in a deep criticism of the hierarchy and its behavior: «the painful and shameful recording of sexual abuses of minors, of abuses of power from the Church ministers, as well as their management, reveal the necessity of a change in the ecclesiastical center». «Far from disappearing to raise the signs of the Risen Christ, the ecclesiastical sin has occupied the whole scene while concentrating all attention and looks. »

A new situation, an extraordinary situation in the first sense of the word

Undoubtedly, the pope’s decision is new, beyond the resignations and disruptions that it leads to and which will be decided in the next days.

In the letter where he presents his conclusions – after being informed of the so-called Scicluna report- he, for the first time, tackles the withholding of evidence inside the institution, most of it released with a level of thoughtlessness closer to a cartel than to a group of bishops.

Bergoglio adds: «my envoys could confirm that some clergymen who had been expelled from the order because of the immorality of their behavior and after minimizing the seriousness of the criminal facts by saying they were minor, have been welcomed in other dioceses, they were even entrusted, very imprudently, with diocesan or parish charges that imply direct and daily contacts with minors. »

The pope also went back over Charles Scicluna’s and Jordi Bertomeu’s enquiries that throw light on the existence of «serious defaults in the way of managing cases of «delicta graviora», that confirm some of the worrying facts that were exposed in some Discasterios romanos, in particular in the way denunciations or «notitae criminis» were recorded, for in a lot of cases, they were dealt with very superficially, while being regarded as improbable, even though there were serious clues of effective crime.»

«The existence of presumed crimes that were dealt with at an inopportune moment or never investigated, which led to the indignation of plaintiffs and of all those who knew the victims, families, friends, parish communities, in other cases, one could notice the presence of serious negligence in the protection of vulnerable children from the part of bishops and religious Superiors, who nevertheless have a particular responsibility forthe protection of God’s people » …

Pope François continues insisting on the situation which is lived by the plaintiffs and stressing on the facts that are criticized by Scicluna in Chile, encouraging the victims to go to court.

The population wonders now if these degenerate clergymen will be punished; if they really believe in God; and this also raises deep doubts about the Catholic Church in the whole world.

It is important to bring out the problem of celibacy, to which these clergymen say they conform. It is yet an «antinatural» situation.

The Catholic Church is far removed from the reality of scientific progress as Stephen Hawking demonstrated in his book The Grand Design, when he determines that God did not create the Universe and added that «the most current scientific theories make the image of the creator useless.»

Antonio Vergara Lira
Spokesman for the International Association of Free Thought for Chile

The international Association of Free Thought informs that since its foundation congress in 2011 in Oslo (Norway), it leads a permanent campaign for the defense of the victims of Churches’ crimes. Its representatives, notably Keith Porteous Wood of the NSS of Great Britain, have intervened several times in international authorities of the UNO on this question.

When the discovery of hundreds of children’s corpses buried in a common grave in the Convent of Tuam (Ireland), the IAFT asked for all the archives of the Bons-Secours Congregation to be opened and handed over to the court. The IAFT asked an audience to Pope François about this question but we never received an answer.

Santiago in Chile May 30 2018

Latin quotations used in the Vatican by the pope
Delicta graviora (serious crimes)
Dicasterios romanos (court, judge or jury – it is used in reference to the specialized departments or organisms of the Roman Curie)
_Notitae criminis (criminal notice which is the form by which one is informed that an act has been committed)

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