SANTIAGO – In the court case against Fernando Karadima, the notorious priest who has been accused with sexual abuse of minors, proof has been found for coverups from the highest ranks within the church. Francisco Javier Errázuriz, archbishop of Santiago until 2010, wrote in a letter about him closing the investigation on the priest. In the letter, he calls Karadima “not so intelligent”.
The letter, sent in 2009 by the then cardinal and archbishop of Santiago Errázuriz, the catholic leader gives his views on the scandals around Karadima. The content of the letter was used as proof by the lawyer of the victims of Fernando Karadima, to prove the highest ranks within the Catholic Church in Chile participated in a system of covering up sexual abuse, committed by priests and bishops.
Errázuriz has a clear opinion on Karadima, according to the letter. “He (Karadima, red.) demands to be treated like a saint, for being the spiritual father of so many priests.” The former archbishop proceeded by shining his light on the sexual abuse accusations. “There are accusations of events that occurred a few years ago, weighing against this charismatic priest. Behind these allegations lies the threat of a scandal.”
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“I closed the investigation to protect the victims”
But although Errázuriz mentions the scandal Karadima was involved in, he continues that by saying that “out of respect for Karadima, I did not ask for people to interrogate him, I only asked Monsignor Andrés Arteaga (Chilean priest, red.) for his opinion. He considered that everything was absolutely implausible.”
According to the letter written in 2009, before the sexual abuse scandal in Chile really erupted, the then archbishop knew that closing the investigation was a risky move. “I wanted to protect them (the victims, red.), knowing that my way of proceeding would turn against me, if the accusers would take the case to the press one day”.
A direct intervention around that time would not have worked, according to Errázuriz´ words. “It would only make the problem more serious. Only indirect measures help.”
Victims see letter as confirmation of Errázuriz´ lies
According to Radio BíoBío, the lawyer of the victims of Fernando Karadima, Juan Pablo Hermosilla, who brought the letter to the court in Rancagua, says that the letter confirms that there have been lies and coverups by the church.
Through the same medium, Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the victims of Fernando Karadima, said he was not surprised by the content of the letter. “As always Errázuriz comes out to defend himself from the indefensible. He closed the case, ignored the victims, lied and continued to lie. The evidence is there and he is a criminal”.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.