September 27, 2015 at 1:34 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Vatican mum on gay man’s blocked nomination to abuse panel

Juan Carlos Cruz, gay news, Washington Blade

Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay Chilean man, says a Catholic priest in the South American country sexually abused him for eight years in the 1980s. The leaders of the country’s Roman Catholic church blocked his nomination to a Vatican commission established to respond to clergy sex abuse. (Photo courtesy of Juan Carlos Cruz)

PHILADELPHIA — A Vatican spokesperson on Sunday declined to comment on the controversy surrounding the two Chilean cardinals who conspired to block a gay man’s nomination to a sex abuse commission that Pope Francis created.

“I have no intention to enter the discussion that has taken place in Chile,” Rev. Federico Lombardi told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

El Mostrador, a Chilean newspaper, on Sept. 9 published a series of private emails between Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, in which they discussed Juan Carlos Cruz’s nomination to the commission and their efforts to block it.

The emails indicate the cardinals, among other things, described Cruz as a “serpent.” Ezzati and Errázuriz, one of eight cardinals who advises Francis on reforming the Curia that oversees the church, also sought to prevent Cruz from speaking about sex abuse to a group of English-speaking bishops in Rome.

Cruz is among the hundreds of people who Rev. Fernando Karadima sexually abused in his parish in the Chilean capital over more than three decades.

Cruz and two other men — José Murillo and James Hamilton — in 2010 went public with their allegations against Karadima. They also accused Errázuriz of ignoring them.

Two Chilean courts subsequently ruled they could not prosecute Karadima because the statute of limitations had expired.

The Vatican in 2011 sanctioned Karadima to a “lifetime of penance and prayer.” Cruz, Murillo and Hamilton in 2013 filed a civil lawsuit against Ezzati, Errázuriz and the Archdiocese of Santiago.

‘What these two cardinals did is terrible’

Former Chilean President Eduardo Frei is among those who have urged Ezzati to resign.

The Santiago archbishop on Sept. 18 during his annual thanksgiving Mass that coincides with Chile’s independence day apologized to “those who were offended” by the emails between him and Errázuriz.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was among those who were in attendance.

“What these two cardinals did is terrible,” Cruz told the Blade on Sunday in response to Lombardi’s comments. “The commission and the pope have made it very clear no one would interfere with it.”

“I feel disappointed because they managed to silence a view from South America and the Southern Hemisphere where cover up continues and victims are suffering,” added Cruz. “I will continue speaking up, whether I’m on the commission or not. I want to help contribute to change the church from within and make those who cover up accountable and children a future generations safe.”

Lombardi made his comments hours after Francis met with five victims of sex abuse at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary outside of Philadelphia.

The pontiff later on Sunday will celebrate Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway that will mark the end of the World Meeting of Families. Francis is then scheduled to return to Rome after an eight-day trip to the U.S. and Cuba.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • Here’s a novel thought: why don’t we rid the Church of the homosexual clergy? After all, according to the John Jay report, 80 some-odd percent of the abuses were perpetrated by homosexual men.

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