Pope appoints abuse survivor to Vatican panel

pope appoints abuse survivor

Pope Francis has appointed a prominent Chilean survivor of clerical sex abuse to a Vatican commission that focuses on education to prevent abuse in the Catholic Church.

Juan Carlos Cruz, an international advocate for abuse victims, has been appointed to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

The 59-year-old Cruz was abused as a teenager in his native Chile by a notorious paedophile, Father Fernando Karadima.

Karadima was convicted in 2011 by a Vatican court of committing pedophile acts in the 1980s and 1990s. He was also dismissed from the clerical state and sentenced to lead a life of penance.

During the pope’s trip to Chile in 2018, Cruz criticised Francis for defending a bishop whom Cruz and other victims accused of having witnessed Karadima abuse them and of covering up for him.

Days after returning to Rome, Francis, citing new information, ordered an investigation of the Church in Chile. It produced a 2,300-page report accusing Chile’s bishops of “grave negligence” in investigating the allegations. The report also said evidence of sex crimes had been destroyed.

Francis later that year received Cruz and other victims of Karadima in the Vatican and demanded the resignation of all of Chile’s bishops.

“When the pope asked me for forgiveness, I have never seen someone so contrite. I felt he was in pain,” Cruz said of his private meeting with Francis.

By this time, the pope was aware Cruz was openly gay and living with his partner in the United States.

“God loves you just as you are,” Francis told him.

Cruz has spent years fighting clergy sex abuse and the Church’s code of silence. He expressed “his gratitude” to the pope for the new appointment.

“I am very grateful to Pope Francis for trusting me with this appointment. This renews my commitment to continue working to end the scourge of abuse and for so many survivors who still do not have justice,” Cruz said on Twitter.


La Croix International


Al Jazeera

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News category: World.

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