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Jean-Pol Grandmont
World News

Catholic Church in Chile at heart of email scandal

by Hannah Tooley

Leaked emails between the Archbishop of Santiago and his predecessor show that the men conspired to stop the name of a well-known abuse survivor from being named to Pope Francis' sex abuse commission, because they feared it would damage the church.

A local paper, El Mostrador, published the email exchanges between current Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, according to The Washington Post.

The Archdiocese of Santiago confirmed their authenticity.

The emails, sent in 2013 and 2014 discussed the key Vatican cardinals they needed to talk to, to try to prevent Juan Carlos Cruz from being invited to speak at a meeting of bishops on sexual abuse in the Church.

Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati wrote: "I hope we can prevent lies from finding space between those who belong to the same church."

Mr Cruz was sexually abused by the Revd Fernando Karadima, a charismatic preacher that the Vatican sanctioned to a lifetime of penance and prayer for abusing young boys.

Revd Karadima had a large following and led a parish for almost sixty years before allegations about him surfaced in 2010.

In May 2010 Cardinal Errazuriz forwarded allegations to the Vatican.

Abuse survivors say allegations against him were first reported to Errazuriz in 2003, but that he did nothing with them.

Errazuriz, one of Pope Francis' nine key cardinal advisers, said in court testimony that he failed to act on several abuse allegations because he did not think they were true.

Mr Cruz has spoken out accusing Errazuriz of covering up for Karadima's crimes.

It was his activism which helped encourage Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse and one of the founding members of Pope Francis' sex abuse advisory panel, to propose him for membership in the group.

Speaking earlier in the week she said she was "disgusted" at how the two cardinals tried to stop the nomination.

The current Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati's office said that the emails were a private exchange of opinion and recognised a final decision on the nomination was in the hands of the Vatican.

Some have urged him to resign.

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