Pope Francis expels Fernando Karadima from Catholic Church

SANTIAGO – Eight years after the first sexual abuse victims of Fernando Karadima stepped forward, the Vatican has decided to expel the priest who became notorious for his sexual abuse on large scale. The Karadima case became symbolic for the widespread abuse scandal in Chile, that has caused several bishops and priests to resign. A fews days ago, Pope Francis already expelled another Chilean priest, Cristián Precht.

An “exceptional decision”, taken “for the good of the Church”. With those words the Vatican described the decision of Pope Francis, who decided today to expel Fernandno Karadima from the Catholic Church.

Eight years ago, in 2010, three victims of Karadima were the first ones to go public about the sexual abuses they suffered while being part of the parish of El Bosque in Providencia. Although, evidence was found for his crimes in an investigation launched by the Chilean justice department, he didn´t serve any sentence. The church did sentence him to “a life of prayer and penance” and exclusion of exercising priesthood. The three victims would travel this year to Rome to meet the Pope, who asked for forgiveness on behalf of the church.

Pope Francis accepts two more resignations of bishops in Chile

Cover-ups from the highest ranks: How the Karadima case became symbolic

What made the Karadima case so symbolic for the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, was the coverups by various bishops and priests throughout the country, who studied under Karadima. The current bishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, and his predecessor Francisco Javier Errázuriz are among those accused of covering up sexual abuse from Karadima and other priests.

One of Karadima´s former pupils, Juan Barros, who went on to become bishop of Osorno, was accused of witnessing the sexual abuse of Karadima, without trying to prevent.

Barros remained bishop of Osorno, although his term was marked with protests from people who didn´t want their bishopric led by a criminal. He even attended the mass led by Pope Francis, during his visit to Chile. The uproar this caused made the church send investigators to Chile, who until this very day assist in investigating sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. It has led to the arrests of several priests, the departure of Juan Barros and the expulsion of Cristián Precht. And today, the long-waited expulsion of Fernando Karadima.

UPDATE: raids on churches of Concepción, Valparaíso, Chillán and Osorno


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