PUNTA DE TRALCA, Chile – Chile’s Catholic bishops arrived on Monday in silence to this town on the central Chilean coast to discuss the crisis triggered by cases of sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy and allegedly covered up by their superiors.
Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez, chair of the bishops’ commission for the prevention of sexual abuse, was one of the few who stopped to answer reporters’ questions upon his arrival at the meeting venue in Punta de Tralca.
Gonzalez recalled that the previous conference was held in April, and, when asked about the agenda of this new meeting, would only say “Patience, it’s the most relevant virtue,” though he subsequently said he has “expectations” about the results.
More openly, Bishop Carlos Pellegrin said an analysis will be made at the meeting about “how we bishops can take greater steps toward strengthening our Chilean church.”
The last to arrive – in complete silence – was Cardinal Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, set to be questioned Aug. 21 on suspicions he covered up the crimes of one of his subordinates, Oscar Muñoz, who is jailed pending trial on charges he drugged and abused a half-dozen minors, some of them his nephews.
The case in which Ezzati is enmeshed figures among the 37 lawsuits filed by Chilean prosecutors for suspected abuse committed by persons related to the Catholic Church.