Pope Replaces Cardinal Who Covered Up Abuse With Priest Accused of Same Crimes
Cishop Celestino Aos was appointed by Francis on Saturday to replace Ricardo Ezzati
After Chile's top cardinal was removed over allegations of covering up sexual abuse, Pope Francis's new replacement is already being accused of covering up crimes of predatory priests.
Spanish bishop Celestino Aos was appointed by Francis on Saturday to replace disgraced Ricardo Ezzati.
But just two days after Aos was appointed, two sex abuse victims accused him of covering for their abuser.
The case now puts into question the Pontiff's judgment.
One victim, former seminarian Mauricio Pulgar, accused Aos of dismissing his complaints of sexual abuse in 2012.
"Naming a person who helped cover up sexual assault, I think this is the worst mistake that the pope could make this year," said Pulgar.
But Aos denied 'absolutely' any cover-up in the case in an interview on Chile's Radio Cooperativa.
The fresh allegations date back to when Aos was a bishop in Valparaiso when he was the Chruch's promoter of justice.
His role was similar to that of a prosecutor, investigating abuse cases.
Abuse victims accuse Aos of denigrating their claims against a local priest, Jaime Da Fonseca, who was cleared for any wrongdoing by the priest.
But Da Fonseca was found guilty in a fresh investigation by the Vatican, who later expelled from the priesthood last year.
"The promoter of justice at that time had a well-defined delimitation of responsibilities. I fulfilled them as I thought best, and the promoter of justice does not decide the sentence," said Aos.
Pulgar claimed that Aos had never given any confidence to his abuse allegations.
"During the investigation, he did not consider them likely, and he didn't inform me of his conclusions. He never gave me the opportunity to present evidence or witnesses," Pulgar told Radio Cooperativo.
But Ezzati, who was the Catholic Church's highest official in Chile, maintains he is innocent.
He gave his resignation along with all of Chile's 34 bishops to the pope in May 2018.
To date, Francis has only accepted seven of the resignations.
Chile's court of appeal on Friday confirmed Ezzati would face trial for not calling out sexual abuse by three priests.
In January 2018, Francis apologized to the child victims of Chile's pedophile priests stating he "deeply regrets" the sex abuse against children in the country.
But activists protesting the Pontiff's visit to Chile last year described him as "satanic" before burning at least nine churches over the past few days.
The Pope said he was “bound to express my pain and shame,” following reports of Chilean pedophile priest had been committed sexual abuse against children.