Former Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, in a 2015 file photo.CARLOS VERA / Reuters
Former priest Fernando Karadima, convicted by canon justice in 2011 for repeated abuses of minors, died this Sunday night at the age of 90, as confirmed by
some of his victims
agency on Monday
. His name has been at the center of pedophilia scandals within the Catholic Church in South America in recent decades. The religious, expelled from the priesthood in 2018, died in the San Juan de Dios nursing home, in Santiago de Chile, due to broncho-pneumonia, kidney failure, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to local media based on the certificate of death.
came to light in 2010 when Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo recounted the abuse they suffered in a television report. “Everything we had to say about Karadima has been said. He was one more link in this culture of perversion and concealment in the Church, ”the three victims said in a statement published on Monday. After an internal investigation, the religious was condemned in 2011 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See to "a life of prayer and penance" and was prohibited from having contact with former parishioners or performing any ecclesiastical act publicly. .
The scandal that surrounded Karadima for years became known internationally during Francisco's visit to Chile in January 2018, when the Pontiff was questioned about the cover-up carried out by men of his highest confidence, such as Bishop Juan Barros. “It is all slander. Is that clear? ”, He said then provoking the anger of the victims. That statement later cost him an apology and, for years, the Chilean's case was seen as the clearest example of how the Church preferred to look the other way instead of facing the scourge of pedophilia.
After the controversy, the Pope expelled him from the priesthood in September 2018. The case had reached the maximum tension with the resignation of the entire ecclesiastical leadership of Chile in an unprecedented act.
34 bishops put their resignation at the disposal of Francisco, after he accused the religious institution in the South American country of "lack of transparency."
The expulsion shook not only the Church, but also the Chilean political and economic elite with whom the priest had forged solid ties from the El Bosque parish, in the wealthy Providencia neighborhood of the capital.
Known as the “elite priest”, Karadima trained numerous religious, including five bishops, and was a confessor and advisor to public figures in Chile, one of the most Catholic countries in the region.
The Chilean justice investigated him but, as the accusations against him dated back to the 80s and the first half of the 90s, they determined that the crimes had prescribed, despite accepting the testimonies of the victims as valid.
The courts, however, did sentence the Church in 2019 to pay compensation for "moral damages" of about $ 150,000 to Murillo, Hamilton and Cruz.
"We are at peace and we are only moved to continue fighting so that these crimes do not happen again and for so many people who have lived through it and still do not have justice," added the victims.
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