Osorno, Chile, Jun 12, 2018 / 15:02 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The archbishop tasked with investigating the Chilean clerical abuse crisis said the main objective of his visit to the diocese of Osorno is not only to express Pope Francis' closeness to the local Church, but to help provide the legal structures needed to handle abuse accusations.
“In respect to our pastoral mission, we wish in first place to be a sign of the closeness of the pope to the people and Church of Chile,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna said in a June 12 statement read aloud to the press in Santiago.
Another goal of the visit, he said, is “to provide concrete technical and legal assistance to the diocesan curias of Chile, so that they can give adequate responses to each case of sexual abuse of minors committed by priests or religious.”
The archbishop stressed Francis' particular closeness to the Diocese of Osorno, saying the visit will be carried out in a spirit “of service and of communion, in a context of prayer, of liturgical celebration and of mutual listening and cordiality.”
Scicluna, who heads the Archdiocese of Malta, is the Vatican's top authority on sex abuse appeals cases. In addition to his post in Malta, Scicluna in 2015 was tapped by Francis to oversee the team in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith charged with handling appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse. He served as the congregation’s Promoter of Justice for 17 years beginning in 1995, and is widely known for his expertise in the canonical norms governing allegations of sexual abuse.