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Pope Francis expresses concern and dismay over alleged abuse by clergymen in Bolivia

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Pope Francis has expressed concern — and dismay — over allegations of sexual abuse dedicated by clergymen in Bolivia


FILE – Individuals protest with indicators that learn in Spanish “Shameless priest don’t contact me” and “I march for sexual schooling with out Church interference,” outdoors the places of work of the Bolivian Episcopal Convention in La Paz, Bolivia, Monday, Could 15, 2023. Bolivia’s Catholic Church introduced on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, the creation of 4 commissions to forestall, examine and attend {cases} of sexual abuse within the establishment. (AP Picture/Juan Karita, File)

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LA PAZ, Bolivia — Pope Francis expressed concern — and dismay — over the allegations of sexual abuse dedicated by clergymen in Bolivia in a letter despatched Friday to President Luis Arce, as a pedophilia scandal involving clergymen continues to rock the the Andean nation.

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The pontiff pledged “the complete cooperation of the Church to work alongside the federal government” within the ongoing investigations over the abuse allegations.

“I specific my sorrow … for the deplorable acts which have affected and proceed to have an effect on people who’ve been sexually abused by members of the church,” Francis wrote within the letter dated Could 31 that was learn Friday by María Nela Prada, the minister of the Bolivian presidency, at a information convention in La Paz.

Within the letter, Francis says he shares the president’s “concern, outrage and condemnation” concerning the just lately reported incidents, in addition to for “the negligence of those that ought to have exercised vigilance.”

Francis was responding to a letter Arce despatched him final month after allegations of pedophilia involving a Jesuit priest got here to gentle. Alfonso Pedrajas, who died of most cancers in 2009, revealed in a private diary revealed by Spanish newspaper El País that he had abused dozens of minors in Catholic boarding colleges relationship again to the Seventies.

President Arce commented on the letter on social media, praising Francis’ “willingness to take concrete, joint actions in opposition to the impunity of sexual crimes.”

Arce added that Bolivia ought to “strengthen controls to forestall international clergymen with a historical past of sexual crimes from getting into the nation.”

Bolivia’s Public Prosecutor’s Workplace has opened an investigation and has requested victims to come back ahead. New {cases} of sexual abuse have been uncovered on account of this probe and one priest was despatched to pre-trial detention for 3 months final month.

Up to now, 12 judicial investigations in opposition to clergy members in Bolivia, together with one which already resulted in a 10-year jail sentence for a priest charged with rape, the Bolivian Episcopal Convention (CEB) mentioned earlier this week. In a number of of the {cases}, those that have been accused of abuse have already died.

Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest who is without doubt one of the Vatican’s high intercourse crimes investigators, was in Bolivia final month partly to take care of the fallout from the rising intercourse abuse scandals. He had beforehand led investigations into related accusations by clergymen in Chile and Paraguay.

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