In a recent commentary published in the National Catholic Register, Fr. Raymond J. de Souza wrote: “After the Pope’s Extraordinary Apology for Chilean Abuse Case, What Comes Next?” Fr. de Souza, editor-in-chief of Convivium, a Canadian online journal, contends that Francis’ admission of serious errors in judgment “will have major consequences for Chile’s own Church leaders,” and also asks: “What, then, can be expected after the most extraordinary papal letter, which has been initially well-received in Chile?”
In two very rare moves, Francis has invited Chile’s entire episcopate to Rome in May to discuss the “short, medium and long-term steps” that must follow. Additionally, the Holy Father will meet with the principal Karadim victims to extend his personal apology. Beyond those two actions, de Souza raises questions on other “curative” steps Pope Francis might take in Chile and a possible agenda for the May meeting in Rome.
Still unresolved are the “church” futures of Barros, who is at the core of the sexual abuse cover-up, and two other Bishops who were in the “sphere” of Fr. Karadima. Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, the Apostolic Nuncio in Chile discussed removal of all three several years ago. As to the Apostolic Nuncio himself, de Souza asserts: “A principal duty of an apostolic nuncio is to keep the Holy See well-informed. The papal letter to Chile is a public admission that the nuncio in Santiago…failed to do that. Such a public vote of no confidence from the Pope himself makes it impossible for the archbishop to continue in Chile.”
Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the senior Chilean Archbishop, is past retirement age. Is there a new Archbishop on tap who can rebuild trust and confidence among Chilean Catholics?
To review Fr. de Souza’s commentary in its entirety, please click here.