SANTIAGO – A week after assuming the leadership of the Chilean Government, President-elect Sebastián Piñera addressed different issues, including allegations of sexual abuse of religious. In that line, the next president criticized the Chilean Catholic Church and the Vatican.
Piñera was responding to the events that have triggered a strong controversy since the case of the pastor Fernando Karadima, who was again at the center of debate for the visit of Pope Francis to Chile and the initial support he gave to the Bishop of Osorno , Juan Barros.
When asked in an interview with Univisión about the way in which the Vatican has dealt with the accusations against Barros, accused of witnessing and covering up the abuses of Karadima, Piñera said: “I am a Catholic. I know the case of that priest (Karadima) who was effectively condemned by justice and the church itself as a priest who abused many children and young people.”
“And the case of Bishop Barros, who was part of the parish (El Bosque) where the priest you mentioned worked, I think it has not been sufficiently investigated. The first reaction of the church was not to assume the responsibility that it had with the victims, but rather that it had a somewhat defensive attitude. I think that was a big mistake,” Piñera said.
In that line, he added: “I am sure that many representatives of the church regret this attitude. When the Pope (Francisco) was in Chile, he said that they were pure slanders (the denunciations against Barros), that there was no evidence. I think that was a mistake too, because this is a subject that should be investigated.”
“In fact, afterwards (the Pope) amended the course because he sent a cardinal (Charles Scicluna) to investigate these matters. Never close your eyes to the truth. Never turn your back on the victims, particularly the victims of sexual abuse and in a very special way when these abuses are committed by civil or religious authorities, as has happened unfortunately throughout the world,” concluded the President-elect.