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article imageChilean Catholic Church admits and apologizes for sexual abuses

By Igor I. Solar     Apr 21, 2010 in World
Santiago - The Chilean Episcopal Conference acknowledged and apologized for sexual abuses by priests in Chile and called for affected communities to report cases. News of another case of sexual abuse emerged today.
Alejandro Goic, president of the Episcopal Conference and bishop of Rancagua, made the statement yesterday. The message follows the end of the 99th Plenary Assembly of the Chilean bishops. The meeting was held last week and was inaugurated in the presence of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The Conference addressed the crisis over abuse cases involving the Catholic Church worldwide and revised the way in which the Chilean Church has confronted several cases of sexual abuse by priests in Chile.
Additionally, Goic defended the celibacy and reiterated the Church's position on this matter (which is that celibacy in the priesthood is not related to pedophilia ). On the expressions of Cardinal Bertone, who linked homosexuality with pedophilia, Goic said that the Church "does not consider its jurisdiction to make general statements regarding medical or psychological matters."
On the subject of pedophilia committed by members of the Church, the prelate said:
"We adhere to the clear and firm guidance of Pope Benedict XVI."
He added: "If a priest commits a crime of this nature, it hurts the whole Church and we ask forgiveness. At the same time, we ask that those having objective data on this, to inform us, so we can proceed according to the rules and based on what the Pope has been saying.”
In his declaration Goic insists that " There is no place in the priesthood for child abusers and no pretext that can justify this crime. "
On the cases in the country, the prelate recalled that there are about 20 complaints that have come to court. Of these, five have ended in conviction, five are in the court process and the remainder have been acquitted, dismissed or rejected.
It is not clear if the 20 cases mentioned by Bishop Goic include the most recent case, disclosed today (21/04/10), which reports that the Archdiocese of Santiago is investigating another priest, Fernando Karadima, former pastor of The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Providence, Santiago (Karadima is now 80 years old). He was accused by a former employee of having abused him for twenty years. The complainant stated that the abuses started at the time he was an altar boy at the parish and that there would be four others willing to testify. All were young men that respected Karadima as a religious authority.
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