by David Nussman • ChurchMilitant.com • September 11, 2018
SANTIAGO, Chile (ChurchMilitant.com) – A Chilean prosecutor is demanding answers from three of the country’s bishops amid allegations of a widespread cover-up of priestly sex abuse.
Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Bp. Juan Barros and Bp. Santiago Silva have all been subpoenaed by a Chilean prosecutor to testify concerning allegations of clerical sex abuse cover-up.
Bishop Barros was the center of a firestorm of controversy due to allegations that he protected notorious abusive priest Fr. Fernando Karadima.
When asked about these allegations during a trip to Latin America in January, Pope Francis defended Barros and blasted sex abuse survivors for accusing the bishop. Following massive backlash against the Pope’s remarks, he had an emergency meeting with all the prelates of Chile in Rome in May. By the end of it, all the Chilean bishops offered their resignations to the Holy Father, placing themselves at his mercy. In June, it was announced that the Holy Father accepted the resignations of Bp. Barros and a few others.
Though Bp. Barros’ resignation was accepted by the Holy See, the other two prelates getting subpoenaed in Chile remain in charge of their dioceses.
Cardinal Ezzati was originally scheduled to testify in August, but after he appealed for a delay, it got rescheduled to October.
Bishop Barros, who resigned from Osorno, will be answering charges that he covered up Fr. Karadima in the country’s military diocese.
Bishop Silva is currently the head of Chile’s military diocese. He too must answer questions about the Karadima case.
Chilean police raided the offices of the military diocese on Aug. 9.
Some sources say that the reason the Pope is slow to replace some of the Chilean bishops is because he is still trying to figure out whom he will choose to replace them.