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Conscience Magazine

Chilean Law Enforcement Raids Offices of Roman Catholic Church

By Conscience August 31, 2018
© CLAUDIO REYES / AFP / GETTY IMAGES Chile's Episcopal Conference meets in Punta de Tralca on July 30, 2018, to discuss the sexual abuse crisis.
Chile’s Episcopal Conference meets in Punta de Tralca on July 30, 2018, to discuss the sexual abuse crisis.

Chilean police and prosecutors conducted surprise raids on the offices of the Catholic hierarchy in Santiago and Rancagua in mid-June in connection with allegations of widespread abuse of minors by priests across the country and a subsequent cover-up. All of Chile’s more than 30 active bishops offered their resignations in May following the scandal. Judicial authorities in Chile are at present investigating “at least 40” such cases, and two of the Vatican’s leading investigators—archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish monsignor Jordi Bertomeu—were in country at the time of the raids, meeting with Chile’s top prosecutor just hours later to discuss potential investigative collaboration. Earlier, the two compiled a 2,300-page report outlining the Chilean Catholic hierarchy’s systemic cover-ups, destruction of evidence and other obstructive efforts, leading Pope Francis to refer to “a culture of abuse and cover-up” among the Catholic hierarchy. “In Chile, we are all subject to common justice,” said prosecutor Emiliano Arias, leader of the Santiago raid. The Vatican has accepted the resignations of five bishops so far.


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