Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This is creepy: “Karadima’s Forest”

James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz y José Andrés Murillo, 
víctimas de los abusos sexuales cometidos por Fernando Karadima.

El Bosque (The Forest)

Once upon a time in a charming forest in Chile, a priest named Karadima seduced and abused some boys - young men - and got away with it.  Until a major scandal broke - then the holy priest was sent away to do penance.  In the meantime, his defenders who refused to listen and do anything to help the boys the saint molested, were promoted to higher positions in the Church and so the boys made a film about it and the good people of Chile rioted.  

I just made that up - but it kind of follows the real story.

What's so creepy about the story is the priest - Karadima - was regarded as a saint - not unlike Maciel.  He led a double life.  He was corrupt and took advantage of his position and exploited the young people in his charge.  

I may have some of the details wrong, but a film on what happened will be released in April this year.

That story here:

SANTIAGO, Mar 20 2015 (IPS) - Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Latin America are taking the first steps towards grouping together in order to bolster their search for justice – a struggle where they have found a new ally: filmmaking.
“Besides entertaining us, movies urge people not to forget, to memorise what is happening to us as a society,” Chilean filmmaker Matías Lira told IPS. 
He added that, with respect to the sexual abuse committed within the Catholic Church, “the media has a pending task, and society has a duty.”
Based on this premise, Lira directed “Karadima’s Forest”, based on real events. The film, which comes out in Chile in April, tells the story of a priest who sexually and psychologically abused dozens of boys and young men, and who was one of the country’s most influential priests thanks to his enormous charisma and his reputation as a “saint” – which was even his nickname. 
There is great expectation surrounding Lira’s film in Chile, a country with a highly conservative society where 67 percent of the population of 16.7 million identifies as Catholic. 
The film comes after “The Club”, by Pablo Larraín, winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in February, which also tackles the question of pedophile priests in Chile. 
The case of Fernando Karadima is emblematic. As the parish priest of El Bosque (“the forest”), in the wealthy Santiago neighbourhood of Providencia, the priest forged an empire with the backing of high-level church authorities from the early 1980s until his retirement from his post in 2006. - Finish reading here.

Riot in the Cathedral. (LOL)
Supporters of Bishop Barros tried to stop the protest.
Story here.

Active participation.

Perhaps the bigger story, up here in the U.S, and especially among Catholic bloggers, is the protests by Chilean Catholics over the consecration of  Juan Barros as bishop of Osorno.  I haven't followed the story closely, aside from being slightly amused by the 'riot in the Cathedral' which occurred in response to the installation of Barros.  Supposedly Barros knew about the abuse - perhaps even witnessed it, but remained silent.  Today he denies any involvement.  Nevertheless, the outcry is so incessant at this point, the protests so loud, I'm confident there will be some response from the Pope and the Vatican.

I hope I can see the film when it's released.

Fernando Botero, Promenade

Prayers for the victims and that justice and peace will ensue.

UPDATE: Catholic news Agency has a good synopsis here.


  1. It always pains me when these stories come to light especially when the innocent suffer. For the sake of the Church and her mission, these ugly sins must be exposed and dealt with.

    May those who are just remain so while those who participated in these crimes be brought to justice.

    I'm adding this latest sad scandal to my prayers.

    1. Me too. Fortunately, the men who came through it appear to have turned out well and have kept the faith. This story ties in with my "Girl Model" post - the exploitation of infants, children and youth must stop and the perpetrators brought to justice.

    2. Terry, thanks for looking a little deeper into this. There are a number of things about this case that strike me..

      1) the victims have not tried to blackmail the church for hush money, nor for 'blab money'.
      this means they have been willing for at least five years now just to tell their story with the encumbent personal humiliation. They did pursue criminal charges which were eventually dropped because of statute of limitations. But again, I don't see how their motivation could not have been monetary.
      2) Cardinal Errazurriz, one of Pope Francis' inner circle of nine cardinals, is up to his ears in the Karadima case and admitted to having ignored accusations against Father Karadima.
      3) Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the victims, says that the Pope's newly selected Bishop Barros was a key enabler for Father K's sexcapades, watching Karadima molest teenagers, making out with Karadima in front of the boys, destroying letters of complaint, serving as Karadima's 'hit man'.
      4) Pope Francis says he thoroughly investigated this matter and still feels Barros is innocent. Cruz quite rightly sees this as a slap in the victims' faces from the Pope. Either the Pope thinks the victims are all lying or else his Holiness knows that Barros is a monster just like Karadima. I'm afraid I don't see any room for a gray area here.

    3. correction....." I don't see how their motivation could not have been monetary."

      take the 'not' out! "I don't see how they could be in this for the money"

    4. I don't doubt the guy's story and I don't think they are in it for the $. I don't know enough about the new Bishop or the role he played. I'm praying the Holy Father will settle the question soon.

      I hesitate to speculate or voice an opinion - it's not my diocese. Once a blogger was commenting on some scandals in my archdiocese and I was offended to some degree because it was a local issue. It's like a family thing from my POV. I know people disagree with that because it is a Church issue. They can say what they want.

    5. CNA has a rundown on the situation - there appears to be corruption on the political side seeking legislative approval for abortion and gay issues. hence an effort to discredit the Church. I included a link in the update to this post.

    6. yeah, but, Terry, have you seen
      Kevin Obrien tears the CNA article to shreds for :

      1)shrinking the number of protesters from thousands to dozens
      2)taking Barros' claims of innocense at face value
      3)skipping over the fact that the three accusers of Barros whom Barros says are lying about him and whom the Pope refuses to believe are the same ones the Vatican used in its case to condemn Karadima. i.e. they were telling the truth about Karadima but are lying about Barros?

      Obrien discerns a 'company line' here, one very similar to that used when the Pope defended the Vatican bank Msgr caught in an elevator with a rent-boy.....CNA has now joined the Pope to espouse it ..... something like 'don't expect any witchhunt against the massive network of practicing homosexuals within clergy' not now, not ever.

    7. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks.

    8. Terry,

      Thanks for the CNA report. I plan to read it. I read something else today that made me sad...

      I remember him too when I used to watch EWTN back in the day.


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