New archbishop chosen to deal with aftermath of Chile’s abuse scandal

Radio New Zealand

Dec. 28, 2019

Pope Francis has confirmed a Spanish priest as the new archbishop of Chile’s capital Santiago, as the Vatican seeks to turn the page on a sexual abuse scandal that has shaken its standing and eroded support in the conservative Latin nation.

Celestino Aos, 74, was appointed apostolic administrator of Santiago in March this year after the Pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who faces multiple charges that he helped cover up sexual abuse of children.

Speaking shortly after his confirmation as the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile, Aos promised to “seek justice, the truth, help the whistleblowers, people who suffer” but also said justice should not be “driven by passion, the emotion of the moment”.

Aos was educated and trained in his native Spain but has spent 36 years working in Chile. He told an interviewer this year that the Pope’s declaration last year about a “culture of cover-up” of abuse in Chile had been “painful and unfair”.

“There are some who have acted like this, and that is repugnant, but not everyone has,” he told Catholic publication Crux in May.

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