Cardinals’ Email Exchange Details Efforts to Silence a Sex Abuse Survivor

Santiago ChileWe have another email scandal on our hands. This time it doesn’t come from Washington. It involves a cardinal of the Catholic Church in Chile and his predecessor. In the email exchanges, the two princes of the church discuss ways to prevent an outspoken survivor of sexual abuse from joining the Pope’s commission on sex abuse.

Leaked emails between the archbishop of Santiago and his predecessor show how they conspired to block a well-known abuse survivor from being named to Pope Francis’ sex abuse commission, fearing it would damage the church. Local newspaper El Mostrador this week published the email exchanges between the current archbishop, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz. The Santiago archdiocese confirmed their authenticity. In the emails, dated 2013 and 2014, the two men discussed the key Vatican cardinals they needed to consult to try to prevent Juan Carlos Cruz from being invited to speak at a meeting of Anglophone bishops on sex abuse.

“I hope we can prevent lies from finding space between those who belong to the same church,” Ezzati wrote to Errazuri.

This behavior is no different from earlier church behavior when bishops and cardinals (see Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law) sought to thwart survivors of sexual abuse from coming forward in order to protect the integrity of the church. While the Pope’s commission may be a step in the right direction, those involved in the process have to be committed to seeking out the truth and not scuttling it to protect the reputation of the church.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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