Church in Chile to sign accord with prosecutor's office for investigation of abuse

The flag of Chile. Credit: Juan R. Velasco/Shutterstock.
The flag of Chile. Credit: Juan R. Velasco/Shutterstock.

.- The Chilean  bishops' conference has announced the signing of a collaboration agreement with the prosecutor's office for the investigation of sex crimes within the Catholic Church.

Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos Perez, auxiliary bishop of Santiago and secretary general of the bishops' conference,  made the announcement at the conclusion of the bishops' Nov. 12-16 plenary assembly in Lo Cañas, a Santiago suburb.

“We studied the draft agreement on mutual collaboration between the National Prosecutor's Office and the Church for the investigation of crimes of abuse of minors by clerics,” Bishop Ramos said, reading a declaration by the bishops.

He emphasized that “the issue has been fully discussed with the authorities from the Prosecutor's Office and their representatives” and that “in the coming weeks we hope to formalize an agreement by signing the respective document and its subsequent application.”

According to the data from the Prosecutor's Office furnished to the Efe new agency, up to Nov. 5 there were 139 ongoing investigations against 190 members of the Church in Chile, involving 245 victims, of whom 102 were minors.

Bishop Ramos explained that the plenary assembly served to address this problem and said that with the National Council for the Prevention of Abuse, they analyzed the progress and follow up of the resolutions adopted in the bishops' Aug. 3 Declaration, Decisions and Commitments statement.

The bishops also initiated the study of the essential elements of the standards of conduct necessary for all pastoral workers, especially clerics and religious, in order to have this instruction completed during 2019.

According to the press conference communiqué, the assembly approved a “roadmap  for the process of discernment to make progress on the way to becoming a Church ever more synodical, prophetic, and full of hope, which seeks to place Jesus Christ at the center.”

A milestone on this roadmap will be the Third National Ecclesial Assembly to be held in May 2020 which “will lay the foundations for new pastoral guidelines for the Church in Chile.”

The assembly elected as vice president of the bishops' conference Archbishop René Osvaldo Rebolledo Salinas of La Serena, following the resignation for health reasons presented by Bishop Cristián Contreras Villarroel of Melipilla.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Tags: Church in Chile, Clerical sex abuse