Mexico is going to start the next investigation on clerical sexual abuse of children. The Vatican’s top two sex crimes investigators will team up with the local commission to find persons who are guilty in clergy sex abuse and cover-up.
The Vatican embassy in Mexico City expressly asked victims to come forward to speak with the two prelates from the Vatican, offering victims an email address to arrange meetings or send their testimony, a phone number to call, and total privacy and confidentiality.
A mission to Mexico will take place from March 20-27 and aims at helping the Mexican church combat abuse, Vatican officials added.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu teamed up in 2018 to investigate the Chilean church. The success of their fact-finding mission resulted in every active Chilean bishop offering to resign.
Sending two prelates to Mexico, the Vatican stressed that Scicluna and Bertomeu would be “at the disposition of all those who want to share their experiences or to receive direction or assistance”.
Scicluna and Bertomeu 2018 report has revealed the darkest side of the Roman Catholic Church. Then, 60 abuse survivors came forward to speak with them about a variety of cases around the country, providing enough testimony and evidence to fill a 2,600-page dossier.
2018 report was crucial in helping Pope Francis realise he had misread the problem of sex abuse and cover-up in the church. The Argentine Jesuits apologised repeatedly and have taken measures, in particular, to try to ensure more accountability among bishops.
Mexican church asked for the investigation mission
Sex crime investigators, Scicluna and Bertomeu, will meet with Mexican bishops, the superiors of religious orders in Mexico, as well as any survivors who choose to speak to them.
“We are certain it will help us respond better to these cases, looking for civil and canonical justice under the principle of ‘zero tolerance’ so that there is no impunity in our church,” the bishops said in a statement.
The mission comes as the Mexican hierarchy is being forced to reckon with decades of sex abuse and cover-up, admitting recently that it had investigated 271 priests in the past 10 years for sexual abuse.
Mexico is the second-largest Catholic country after Brazil, and Vatican officials have long known that the number of abuse cases being reported to the Vatican was a fraction of the total. The Mexican church is, however, powerful and well-entrenched, and victims have long been cowed into silence.
Scicluna, one of the most experienced Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor, is intimately familiar with the legion and the mechanisms of power in the Mexican hierarchy. The Maltese archbishop conducted the 2002-2003 investigation into the legion’s late founder, the Rev Marcial Maciel, that resulted in him being forced to retire to a life of penance and prayer for having raped and molested his seminarians.