Cardinal Erzzati, “I haven’t covered abuse, on the contrary, I’ve exposed it.”
[ July 25, 2018]
(Santiago de Chile) Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago and Primate of Chile, has been charged with suspicion of covering up sexual abuse.
The case of Karadima, which became known in recent years mainly as the case of Barros, is drawing greater attention. "Today, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati was summoned by the Rancagua Procuratorate to appear as a defendant in court on 21 August for the suspicion of covering up an offense," the Archdiocese said in a press release.
The cardinal himself affirmed that he was guilty of no such crime. In this sense, he will also defend himself in Rancagua.
"I am firmly convinced that I have covered up nothing and that I have not obstructed the judiciary in any way. Rather, as a citizen of the country, I have made a contribution to exposing the facts through contact with the victims. In this sense, I will continue to make my contribution.”
Prosecutor Emiliano Arias is investigating several priests and seized parts of the diocesan archives of the diocese of Rancagua. The local diocesan Bishop Alejandro Goic was retired by Pope Francis in the meantime. He had already reached the canonical maximum age. Nevertheless, there is a direct connection with the investigation.
After much hesitation, Francis began a mass dismissal, which does not appear to be exhausted. The name of Cardinal Ezzati was called immediately. The Primate is still in office, but in the context of the indictment that has now taken place, the moment of retirement may have come - or may be delayed for that very reason. The Cardinal had demanded the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros from Francis and thereby put the Pope under pressure. That did not go down well in Rome. When Francis finally retired Barros after three and a half years of hesitation, the retirement of Cardinal Ezzati seems to have been a "matter of punishment".
The arraignment by the prosecutor could, if the retirement does not occur in the next few days, may lead to its delay, since he inopportine intervention by the Pope could throw a false light.
The whole affair goes back to the case of Fernando Karadima, one of Chile's best known priests, who was convicted of sexual abuse in 2013. He was condemned by the Church and has since led a life of silence and penance.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org