Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, Chile reiterated the Church's commitment to eradicating sexual abuse.
The archbishop promised to do “everything in his power to establish the truth and carry out justice.”
“The pain, confusion and distress a community experiences is understandable when people consecrated to Jesus Christ … commit grave faults that leave victims scandalized and disappointed,” the archbishop said in a message issued April 2.
“Violence against the smallest and most vulnerable among us can never be justified or protected,” Archbishop Ezzati continued. He added that the Church must “root out this evil from society, while assuming an active role in preventing child abuse in all ministries and catholic schools.”
Catholics in Santiago “can be sure that their pastor will do everything in his power to establish the truth and carry out justice in lawsuits involving members of the consecrate life.”
Earlier this year, popular Chilean priest Fr. Fernando Karadima was found guilty of sexual abuse by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was ordered to retire to life of prayer and penance.
“We must not fear the truth that will set us free,” the archbishop continued. “To shine the light on it may be painful, but it brings us hope of better days in a purified Church.”
Archbishop Ezzati also called for an “open dialogue in an atmosphere of respect, faith and fraternity, so Catholics can become more aware of their rights and duties.” He added that parish and youth ministry child protection policies should be reviewed.
He urged prayers for priests, emphasizing that this “time of pruning is teaching us.”
“The night may be long, but soon the light will come, the true light that illuminates all men and who is Christ the Lord.”