The former priest, emblematic of sexual abuse against minors in the Chilean Church, died

Chilean ex-priest Fernando Karadima, accused of sexual abuse against minors, leaving a judicial hearing in Santiago, Chile, on November 11, 2015.

© Sebastián Silva / EFE
Chilean ex-priest Fernando Karadima, accused of sexual abuse against minors, leaving a judicial hearing in Santiago, Chile, on November 11, 2015.

At the age of 90, Fernando Karadima, the Chilean ex-priest accused of sexually abusing minors, passed away. Although he never received a formal conviction – the Chilean justice alleged that the accusations had prescribed – Pope Francis punished him in 2018 by expelling him from the priesthood. In addition, the media coverage of their crimes allowed other attacks by Catholic religious to finally see the light.

The former Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who was expelled from the Church for abusing minors, has died at the age of 90.

His sexual crimes came to light in 2010, when three people who suffered them related them in a television report. In 2011, the Catholic Church found him guilty and in 2018 Pope Francis decided on his forced departure from the priesthood.

Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, the three men who broke the silenceThey said in a statement quoted by EFE that “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 death occurred on the night of this Sunday, July 25, at the San Juan de Dios residence for the elderly, in Santiago de Chile. According to sources cited by the Spanish agency, the causes include “bronchial pneumonia, kidney failure, diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Condemned by the Church, but never by Justice

“On January 16, 2011, the Vatican found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors with violence and abuse of his ecclesiastical authority,” recalls the Chilean newspaper La Tercera. Consequently, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See condemned Karadima to a life of prayer and penance.

The Vatican also prohibited him from associating with former parishioners and from holding public liturgies.

Years later, in 2018, Pope Francis finally decided to expel him from the priesthood. The gesture was a shock both for the ecclesiastical world and for the Chilean elites, with whom Karadima had come to establish strong ties during his service in the El Bosque parish, located in Providencia, one of the upper neighborhoods of Santiago.

In fact Karadima was known as “the priest of the elites”. According to EFE, the parish priest instructed several religious, of whom five became bishops. On the other hand, he confessed and advised high-ranking Chilean personalities.

The Chilean Justice investigated the case and considered the testimonies of the victims valid. However, it considered that the crimes of sexual abuse of which Karadima was accused, which occurred between the 1980s and 1990s, had prescribed.

On the other hand, in 2019, the Chilean Court of Appeals sentenced the Church to pay almost 150,000 dollars in compensation “for moral damages” to the three victims who denounced the abuses: Murillo, Hamilton and Cruz.

Before the death of their aggressor, the three assured “to be at peace” and “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.”

In statements quoted by La Tercera, the Archbishopric of Santiago declared that “we closely accompany the surviving victims and their families, asking the merciful God to heal the pain caused to all those who have suffered. At the same time, as Archbishop we reaffirm our commitment to continue working to promote healthy and safe environments within the Church. “

With EFE and Reuters

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