Bergoglio Considers the Charges against Father Ilarraz to be “Grave Offenses”
September 19, 2012
The Archbishop of Buenos Aires backed a communication issued by the Archbishop of Paraná. The priest, who was in Monteros, has been accused of sexual abuse against 50 children.
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, repudiated the "grave offenses" committed by Father Justo José Ilarraz, accused of sexually abusing at least 50 children ages 12-14 when he was prefect at the seminary Menor de Paraná.
Bergoglio's words echo (and thereby tacitly support) the written communication released by the Archbishop of Paraná in regards to the charges against Ilarraz. In that communication, the Church declared their "profound shame and immense sorrow" caused by the situation.
“The latest news reports are the source of our profound shame and immense sorrow for the very serious offenses committed by he who should be at the service of the moral life of the people, leading by example and through education,” read the statement released last week, and to which the Archbishop of Buenos Aires adhered at the 11th hour.
The incidents linked to Ilarraz, which date from the period between 1984 and 1992, were uncovered by an investigation made by Análisis, a weekly publication in Entre Ríos.
Following the investigation, the Attorney General of the Superior Court of Entre Ríos, Jorge Garcia, opened a case to further investigate the allegations.
In the written communication, the ecclesial authorities stated that “when the incidents were made known, all necessary measures were taken to elucidate the truth, all the while preserving the right to the judicial process and to due process.” Moreover, they indicated that “the directives of The Vatican, in particular, Pope Benedict XVI, called for the application of the appropriate sanctions.”
In conclusion, the communication said that the priest had been removed from the exercise of ministerial duties “until the Vatican resolves his situation.”
Ilarraz, who has gone into hiding, already hired a lawyer, Jorge Muñoz, who on Monday filed a writ of habeas corpus to prevent the priest from being arrested, and explained that "all this has strongly affected Ilarraz, and he therefore chose to step aside and talk through his representative."
According to Análisis, several of the priests of the Archdiocese of Paraná -- who in September 2010 demanded that the then-Archbishop Mario Maulión take action for “abuses commited by priests against children,” with specific mention of Father Justo José Ilarraz -- would be subpoenaed by the Court of Entre Ríos, in connection with the case, which was initiated by the Attorney General of the Superior Court of Entre Ríos.