Chile-- Victims blast Catholic Archbishop of Santiago Ricardo Ezzati, one of the newly appointed cardinals by Pope Francis
For immediate release Monday, January 27
Victims blast Catholic Archbishop of Santiago Ricardo Ezzati, one of the newly appointed cardinals by Pope Francis
They criticize his "self-serving" plea
He claims those molested should "look forward and trust the Church”
They counter: "But kids are still being abused now and mostly the Chilean hierarchy continues to cover up and hide, protecting themselves and their own and have complete disregard for survivors"
And cover ups continue too, support group maintains
A support and advocacy group for clergy sex abuse victims is blasting a top Chilean Catholic official who has urged that those molested by priests “don’t look at the past, look forward and trust the Church”.”
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that Archbishop of Santiago Ricardo Ezzati's remarks are “self-serving, disingenuous and hurtful.”
“Kids are still being hurt, victims continue to be victimized by Church authorities like Ezzati and crimes are still being covered up,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Fr. Fernando Karadima’s abuse. “So actually, it's irresponsible to 'look forward' and pretend that centuries old habits of secrecy and denial have suddenly and magically been reversed. That's a huge disservice to children and vulnerable adults. This attitude by Ezzati and his colleagues not only hurt victims that have been outspoken and have been brave to speak about their terrible ordeal, but there are thousands who are quiet and anonymous and have to hear this rhetoric that keeps hurting them and their families”
Ezzati made his comments at the opening of a new Salesian Church this Saturday in the Chilean diocese of Linares where the current bishop, Tomislav Koljatic, also covered up sexual abuse as he directly witnessed the abuse that Fr. Fernando Karadima perpetrated on his victims. Yet, he is still there with no consequences.
“We believe many child molesting clerics remain on the job or hidden by church officials,” said David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP. “While some of those who commit clergy sex crimes are disciplined - only when bishops are forced to do so by external pressure - none of those who conceal clergy sex crimes are ever disciplined. We know that no church employee who is concealing child sex crimes has ever been disciplined in Chile. So this strongly suggests that little is changing and that kids are still at risk.”
The January 2014 results of the reputable survey from the “Centro de Estudios Públicos de Chile” (CERC) revealed that the confidence and trust in the Catholic Church and its hierarchy in Chile has fallen to its lowest levels of 34% from 75 % in 1990 and even much higher numbers 1990.
“There's a reason for this dramatic decline in parishioners' trust in Catholic officials,” added Clohessy. “It's because those leaders are still denying, minimizing and concealing heinous crimes against innocent kids and vulnerable adults. Archbishop Ezzati, his predecessor Cardinal Errázuriz who covered dozens of crimes – now part of the Group of 8 that counsels Pope Francis – and many of their colleagues should realize that exhorting their flock to trust bishops won't work. People will trust the church hierarchy when bishops remove all predators, punish all enablers, aggressively seek out and help victims, rather than attack and humiliate victims. That's how trust will be restored, not through wishes and pleas and much less through covering up the past.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.