25 May 2018
[ Italian ]
We Are Church International expresses solidarity with the survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Chile, Somos Iglesia Chile, and the Osorno Lay Organization for their courageous and tenacious advocacy to achieve justice for those who suffered years of abuse and cover up by church officials. Their commitment to the truth has resulted in a new level of accountability from the Vatican and from Chilean church leaders.
We Are Church International believes that it was right and appropriate for the more than 30 bishops from Chile to tender their resignations to Pope Francis, in light of the systemic cover-up of abuse and vilification of many survivors. We urge a thorough review of each bishop’s history and careful consideration of whether he deserves the privilege of continuing as a diocesan leader.
We Are Church International applauds Pope Francis for acknowledging that he made an error in his initial assessment of the impact of clerical abuse on the victims, survivors, their families, and the church in Chile. We agree that the appointment of Archbishop Scicluna to investigate the accusations brought against numerous bishops for widespread failures to act on accusations of abuse was a critical step in demonstrating respect for those victimized for so long. We await the publication of the full report on the investigation, and hope that the Pope will accept the majority of the resignations that have been offered. We expect that bishops and cardinals from other nations who have been charged with failure to act to protect the people of the church will also be subject to purposeful investigation.
Sexual abuse of children and adults and the cover up of this abuse is a problem for the church not just in Chile but across the globe. We Are Church International calls for justice for all who have suffered and urges the Vatican to learn from what occurred in Chile, and to apply these lessons to the entire Church. We believe that these scandals point to the need for structures that enforce transparency and accountability on the part of church leaders. The people of the church must have a voice in determining who leads individual dioceses, and in assessing the effectiveness of their leadership. These are important factors in establishing the “inverted pyramid” church of which Pope Francis has spoken, a church where the leaders are truly servants of the people of God.
We Are Church International (WAC-I) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.