AP Explains: Catholic Church in Chile weakened by scandal

Associated Press via WRAL

January 15, 2018

By Peter Prengaman

Leer en español: AP Explica – Cómo se debilitó la Iglesia en Chile

When Pope Francis arrives in Chile’s capital Monday, he will find a weakened Roman Catholic Church. As in many Latin American countries, the church in Chile has been losing followers to both evangelical faiths and increasing secularism. The shift has been exacerbated by a priest sex abuse scandal, and many Chileans are put off by the church’s influence in keeping tight restrictions in social matters like marriage and abortion. Here are some of the contributing factors to the Chilean church’s problems.

Sex Abuse Scandals

Always well dressed, the Rev. Fernando Karadima seemed an ideal priest among the elite in Santiago. But he had a dark side, sexually abusing dozens of minors over decades while church superiors either looked the other way or covered up for him.

Allegations against Karadima went back to the 1980s, but the full weight of his actions didn’t become widely known until victims went public in 2010. In 2011, the Vatican found him guilty of sexually abusing minors.

The statute of limitations had passed for him to be tried criminally, though, and Karadima’s only punishment was being sent by the church to a convent to spend the rest of his life in prayer, angering many Chileans. He is there to this day.

[Also includes sections on:
– Pope’s Controversial Appointment
– Bishops Then and Now
– Divorce
– Abortion]

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