The Holy Father has taken this exceptional decision in conscience and for the good of the Church
The pontiff has exercised his “ordinary power, which is supreme, full, immediate and universal in the Church” (Code of Canon Law, canon 331), conscious of his service to the people of God as Successor of Saint Peter.”
The decree, signed by the pope on Thursday, September 27, came into force automatically from that moment, and also implies Karadima’s dispensation of all clerical obligations. Karadima himself was notified on Friday, September 28.
The director of the Press Office of the Holy See commented on the news: “Pope Francis is acting as a pastor, as a father, for the good of the whole People of God. The removal of the clerical state of Fernando Karadima is one more step in the railway line of Pope Francis concerning abuse in the church. We were facing a very serious case that had to be rooted out. This is an exceptional measure, no doubt, but the serious crimes of Karadima have done exceptional damage in Chile. “
Pope Francis’ decision closes an open circle with active listening to the claims of the victims of Karadima, the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros (former bishop of Osorno), who denied ever having witnessed or covered up the sexual abuse perpetrated by the former priest, as affirmed by the victims Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton, José Andrés Murillo.
Thus, the pope confirms his ‘zero tolerance’ regarding abuses, especially in the emblematic case of the powerful pastor of El Bosque church.
Karadima was found guilty in 2011, by the Vatican and the Chilean justice system, of abusing teenagers during the 1980s and 1990s; and prosecuted for maintaining erotic behavior while in the confessional with young people.
On April 21, 2010, the Holy Office opened a formal investigation against Karadima, who was found guilty.
Before Francis expelled him from the priesthood, Karadima was serving a sentence that forced him to retire to a life of prayer and penance, in addition to prohibiting the public exercise of the priesthood.
The decree, signed by the pope, reads:
” I, Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis, on September 27 of the year 2018, by virtue of our ministry, having supreme, full, immediate and universal power in the Church, which can always and freely be exercised, have decreed that it be applied to said priest the removal of the clerical state for the good of the Church, together with the dispensation from all the obligations derived from the sacred ordination, according to the following norms […] “.
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