Open letter from the Bishop of Quilmes, in regards to the sex scandal
[Translated to English by BishopAccountability.org. To see original, click on the link below.]
My Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I feel tremendous anguish for our diocese, for my priests, and the children and youth in particular, and for the embarrassment that others may feel due to a public television channel’s accusation that your bishop is protecting an abusive priest.
From the beginning, when a mother, who was deeply wounded by the scandalous act of a priest against her son, presented her complaint to me, I removed the priest in question from all pastoral activity and asked him to leave the diocese, forbidding him from celebrating any public Mass. This initial disciplinary measure, called a reprimand, which was first imposed for a month and has been accepted by the priest, remains in effect to this day. As of late, he can attend Mass, but only as a layperson.
I immediately presented the report to the Holy See in Rome; at their orders, a trial began in the Ecclesiastical Court, in Buenos Aires.
The mother informed me when she first contacted me that she had given a statement to the police at the advice of a lawyer, in order to have a record for any eventual criminal prosecution.
At a later date, I got clarification that in these cases the formal complaint can only be issued by the person who has been affected by the crime. That is, the bishop cannot be the plaintiff. From the time the case was filed in a civil court of law, the Diocese has collaborated with transparency in all that the legal system required.
I never [subjected] the mother to any conditions in her freedom to take a legal course of action. What worried me from the beginning was the damage that might have been caused the adolescent male, and for that reason, the Diocese offered the family their choice of professional support. The financial contribution for this treatment was at no time denied. It was the mother who no longer turned to the Diocese, this when she decided to file a criminal complaint against the priest.
I feel no ill will toward anyone, but I do feel a deep concern for all who have been involved in this painful event. I also feel this pain for the priest, who I, as a bishop and a father, cannot ignore.
I pray to God our Lord, the Just and Merciful, that this pain serves as our purification, and awakens in all of us a greater yearning for holiness. I bless you with all my heart, and I ask that you bless me.