The Vatican has gotten fed up with the scandals that shake hima Congregation of the Marist Brothers around the world and has opened an exceptional investigation process in its Chilean branch, where the seriousness of the scandals is beyond doubt and dozens of cases have been proven. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does not normally have the capacity to investigate when those involved are priests (the Marists are religious), but the depth and credibility of the events prompted the Pope to sign a decree recently to make it so.
The Holy See realized the seriousness of the events last February, when Francisco ordered an investigation in Chile for the abuses scandals of the priest Fernando Karadima that for years concealed the ecclesial hierarchy -that ended with the mass resignation of all the bishops of the country. During the investigations, without being dealing with that case, the investigators sent by the Pontiff, Archbishop Charles Schicluna and the Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, had first-hand notice of what was happening with the Marists. This is confirmed by the Vatican to this newspaper. "During the special mission in Chile, requested by the Holy Father, the accusations of abuses by some Marist brothers surfaced. As a result of that, the Pope decided to entrust the case to the Doctrine of the Faith. It is a provision activated by exceptional means, "says interim spokesman of the Vatican Alessandro Gisotti.
The prosecutors who investigate the cases through civil proceedings have pointed out that the Marist crimes in Chile, with the Alonso Ercilla school in Santiago as the epicenter, lasted at least 50 years, between 1967 and 2016, in different educational centers. In Chile there are n148 investigations for sexual crimes committed by members of the clergy, with 202 people investigated and 255 victims, the Marists accumulate the largest number of cases: 25 accused of abuse and rape -among them seven Spaniards- and at least thirty victims.
The investigation so far is directed against individuals accused of abuses. But the seriousness of the situation, which suggests that some of the centers became a place for priests coming from outside to abuse minors, could lead to an apostolic visit, the step prior to the intervention of the congregation. A phenomenon similar to what happened with the Legionaries of Christ in Mexico and to which only recourse is made in exceptional cases. The problem, they believe in Vatican sources for guardianship of minors, is that there have already been too many scandals with Marists in different parts of the world.