World

Chile Catholic Church reels from email scandal over survivor of sex abuse victim

  • FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2014 file photo, Pope Francis, right, walks with Chile's Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati to a session of the synod, a two-week meeting of cardinals and bishops from around the world, at the Vatican. Private e-mails show that Ezzati exchanged messages with his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, to try to block a victim of sex-abuse by a pedophile priest from joining the papal commission. The Archbishop of Santiago de Chile has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2014 file photo, Pope Francis, right, walks with Chile's Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati to a session of the synod, a two-week meeting of cardinals and bishops from around the world, at the Vatican. Private e-mails show that Ezzati exchanged messages with his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, to try to block a victim of sex-abuse by a pedophile priest from joining the papal commission. The Archbishop of Santiago de Chile has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 30, 2007 file photo, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz gives a press conference at the General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida, Brazil. Private e-mails show that Errazuriz exchanged messages with Santiago Archbishop, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati to try to block a victim of sex-abuse by a pedophile priest from joining the papal commission. The Archbishop of Santiago de Chile has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails. Errazuriz is one of the cardinals on Pope Francis' key advisory panel. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

    FILE - In this May 30, 2007 file photo, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz gives a press conference at the General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida, Brazil. Private e-mails show that Errazuriz exchanged messages with Santiago Archbishop, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati to try to block a victim of sex-abuse by a pedophile priest from joining the papal commission. The Archbishop of Santiago de Chile has confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails. Errazuriz is one of the cardinals on Pope Francis' key advisory panel. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 12, 2015 file photo, Juan Carlos Cruz poses for a portrait in Wilmington, Delaware. Two Chilean cardinals exchanged private e-mails to try to block Cruz from joining the papal commission. Cruz, a 51-year-old journalist, was sexually abuse by Rev. Fernando Karadima, whom the Vatican has sanctioned for abusing young boys. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

    FILE - In this March 12, 2015 file photo, Juan Carlos Cruz poses for a portrait in Wilmington, Delaware. Two Chilean cardinals exchanged private e-mails to try to block Cruz from joining the papal commission. Cruz, a 51-year-old journalist, was sexually abuse by Rev. Fernando Karadima, whom the Vatican has sanctioned for abusing young boys. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)  (The Associated Press)

The Catholic Church in Chile has been rocked by another scandal surrounding its most infamous pedophile.

Leaked emails between the archbishop of Santiago and his predecessor show how they conspired to block a well-known abuse survivor from being named to Pope Francis' sex abuse commission, fearing it would damage the church.

Local newspaper El Mostrador this week published the email exchanges between the current archbishop, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz. The Santiago archdiocese confirmed their authenticity.

In the emails, dated 2013 and 2014, the two men discussed the key Vatican cardinals they needed to consult to try to prevent Juan Carlos Cruz from being invited to speak at a meeting of Anglophone bishops on sex abuse.

"I hope we can prevent lies from finding space between those who belong to the same church," Ezzati wrote to Errazuri.

Cruz was sexually abused by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic preacher whom the Vatican sanctioned to a lifetime of penance and prayer for having abused young boys.

Karadima had a huge following and led a parish in Santiago for nearly six decades before allegations against him came to light in April 2010. Two months later Errazuriz forwarded allegations to the Vatican.

Victims say allegations against Karadima were first reported to Errazuriz in 2003, but that he ignored them. Errazuriz, who is one of Francis' nine key cardinal advisers, has acknowledged in court testimony that he failed to act on several abuse allegations because he believed them to be untrue.

Cruz has been outspoken in accusing Errazuriz of covering up for Karadima's crimes.

Cruz's activism prompted Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse and one of the founding members of Francis' sex abuse advisory panel, to propose him for membership in the group.

On Friday, she said she was "disgusted" at how the two cardinals scuttled the nomination and said it would be discussed by the commission.

"Personally I am disgusted at the attitude displayed by these leaders in the church to the Pontifical Commission and to a survivor of abuse," Collins said in an email to The Associated Press.

Ezzati's office has said the emails were a private exchange of opinion, though it acknowledged the decision on the nomination was the Vatican's to make.

The emails have been harshly criticized in Chile, with some politicians calling on Ezzati to cancel his annual "Te Deum" address, when church leaders traditionally tell politicians what is ailing society. Others have urged him to resign.

The email scandal comes months after Francis himself was criticized by Collins and other commission members for nominating a Karadima protégé to be bishop of the southern Chilean city of Osorno, even though victims said the prelate knew of Karadima's crimes and did nothing.

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Associated Press Writer Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.