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Chilean police raid Catholic Church offices amid abuse probe

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu walk downstairs before taking part in a news conference inside of the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, Chile, on June 13, 2018. Scicluna, the investigator of sex abuse in Chile's church, returned to the country to begin what the Vatican has said is a "healing" mission in Osorno after the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros, who has been at the center of Chile's growing scandal ever since Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno in 2015 over the objections of the local faithful, his own sex abuse prevention advisers and some of Chile's other bishops. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Police and prosecutors raided Roman Catholic Church offices in two Chilean cities Wednesday (June 13) looking for files, investigative reports and documents related to a sex abuse scandal that has damaged the clergy’s reputation in the South American country.

The surprise raids targeted the headquarters of Santiago’s Ecclesiastical Court and the bishop’s office in Rancagua in the O’Higgins region, where 14 priests are accused of having had sexual relations with minors.

“In Chile, we are all subject to common justice,” said prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who led the raid in Santiago.

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, said church officials “gave the prosecutor all the requested documentation.” He added that they are “available to cooperate with the civilian justice system in all that is required.”


RELATED: Chile’s bishops resign en masse over sex abuse cover-up


In May, all of Chile’s 30-plus active bishops offered to quit over their collective guilt in failing to protect Chile’s children from priests who raped, groped and molested them.

Wednesday’s raids came as two leading Vatican investigators — Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu — are in Chile to investigate the sexual abuse of minors committed by clergy.

Scicluna and Bertomeu earlier put together a 2,300-page report that prompted Pope Francis to realize he had misjudged the Chilean situation.

On Monday, Francis began purging Chile’s Catholic hierarchy over the avalanche of sex abuse and cover-up cases, starting with accepting the resignations of the bishop at the center of the scandal and two others. More heads were expected to roll.

A Vatican statement Monday said Francis had accepted the resignations of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt. Francis named a temporary leader for each diocese.


RELATED: Pope begins purge in Chilean church over sex abuse scandal


Barros, 61, has been at the center of Chile’s growing scandal ever since Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno in 2015 over the objections of the local faithful, the pope’s own sex abuse prevention advisers and some of Chile’s other bishops.

The report exposed evidence that the Chilean hierarchy systematically covered up and minimized abuse cases, destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring church investigators to discredit abuse accusations and showing “grave negligence” in protecting children from pedophile priests.

Those findings opened a Pandora’s box of new accusations that led Francis to become the first pope to refer to a “culture of abuse and cover-up” in the Catholic Church.

The raids in Chile were reminiscent of the police search carried out in 2010 at the headquarters of the Catholic Church hierarchy in Belgium, which prompted then-Pope Benedict XVI to intervene and protest the “deplorable” intrusion in the Catholic Church’s legal process.

Belgian police took away computers and hundreds of files amid rumors that church leaders were continuing to cover up abuse cases. The raid prompted a Catholic panel investigating abuse to shut down in protest, saying Belgian authorities had betrayed the trust of nearly 500 victims who made complaints to the panel.

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Patricia Luna

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  • Need for all the.bishops including Bergoglio F. .to.resign. It was Bf. The Vatican Who.promoted Daneels, Bonney.and dekessel in Belgium ,barros.in Chile, Maradiaga in Honduras,,Depaglia,Cocopalmeiro,,Mahoney .of Cal., and Involio.in italy AFTER they were exposed for homosexual misconduct or cover ups of.financial and Or Homosexual .crimes.

  • Irreligion has made every other basis of corruption fade into insignificance.

    Under the Soviet Union 61 million people were killed; Stalin was responsible for 43 million of them. Under Mao, another Marxist state, 77 million were killed. Pol Pot killed 2 million Cambodians out of a population of 7 million.

    So, within less than a century atheism killed more people than every other ism, belief, or disbelief in the entire history of mankind.

    How about bigotry? Marx called the German labor leader Ferdinand Lassalle a “Jewish N-gger.”

    And those atheist and secular humanist charities doing such good work across the world …. not.

  • Police raid demonstrates that Catholic officials are not above the law; ecclesiastical guts across the world clench in fear.

  • This has been going on for centuries. My own grandmother was raised in a Catholic orphanage in Vienna, Austria during the 1890’s. As an innocent little girl, she suffered unspeakable abuse by the “clergy” at that orphanage. As an adult, my grandmother refused to step foot inside of a Catholic church for the rest of her life, including funeral services for family members. My aunt told me this history when I was a mature adult. Needless to say, I was outraged.

    The RCC & Vatican has had a very long history in NOT cooperating with law enforcement authorities investigating sex abuse crimes. The hierarchy has bought off victims with bribes for silence, threatened the victims with canonical punishment, etc. …. all while protecting the pedophile criminals all over the world. This is happening in every country where the Catholic church has a presence. Thankfully, due almost entirely to the internet, these crimes are now seeing the light of day, and will hopefully lead to an aggressive prosecution of these crimes by law enforcement authorities. It is high time that the Catholic church answers for these crimes against innocent children.

  • “The raids in Chile were reminiscent of the police search carried out in
    2010 at the headquarters of the Catholic Church hierarchy in Belgium,
    which prompted Pope Benedict XVI to intervene and protest the
    “deplorable” intrusion in the Catholic Church’s legal process.”

    Above quote taken from the above article. Benedict would find the police raid a “deplorable intrusion.” Why? For over ten years, Cardinal Ratzinger, prior to becoming Pope, ran the office which oversaw pedophile abuse cases on a global basis. Virtually every sex abuse case passed across Ratzinger’s desk. It was Ratzinger that continued the age old policy of keeping these crimes hidden within the Catholic church while at the same time refusing to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. The Vatican State accomplishes this by declaring “diplomatic immunity” under the guidelines of a sovereign State. No other religious institution in the entire world would, or, could, get away with the thousands of crimes committed under their watchful eye.

  • That Pope should have accepted every single offer to resign.
    What karma for all of them.

  • All false as usual from Bob-José Arnzen.

    Not one of the cases that he cites was caused by any dictate or policy of atheism. In fact, the dictators he points to were acting as deities demanding fealty from people, much as the sky fairy of Bob-José’s bible stories does. That’s the appropriate comparable, despite Bob-José’s attempts to present his BobWorld fantasies.

  • Same old same old. Just Catholic priests doing what they do best, doing kids -as usual. At least now some of the perpetrators are being caught and held accountable, somewhat.

  • Why can’t the Roman Church just investigate these cases with their own police force? They were so good at asking “The Question” before!

  • “which prompted Pope Benedict XVI to intervene and protest the “deplorable” intrusion in the Catholic Church’s legal process”

    Many religious people believe that their pretend deity’s “laws” are superior to the civil law. A belief that is actively taught to them by a mix of gullible suckers and those with immoral intent and/or deserved punishment they seek to avoid

  • The church needs to figure out how they are going to be a part of the legal systems in nations all across the world. “Scicluna and Bertomeu earlier put together a 2,300-page report that prompted Pope Francis to realize he had misjudged the Chilean situation.” Did Scicluna, Bertomeu, or any Chilean bishop give any/some of this information to the police so they could investigate? Bishops and priests are not removed from the world, they live and work in the communities and have an obligation to those communities as well as to the community of the faithful and to Rome. It is not enough to forgive sinners – it is also necessary to protect the community and to participate in assuring justice, restorative justice, for all involved.

    I admit I don’t know how to design what that system would look like, but it isn’t what we have now. If the Church doesn’t participate with society in finding a better way to deal with sexual abuse within the organization, then secular society will have to impose the solutions that seem best to them.

    Along with all that “religious freedom” that is being talked about, there is also an equal responsibility to the civic society within which that religious freedom is exercised. Responsibility is a two way street. Religious groups do not get special rights, they get equal rights.

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