Abuse scandal surrounding confidant of President Boric

After self-denunciation: Jesuits in Chile exclude prominent priest

Santiago de Chile - The Jesuit Felipe Berrios is one of the best-known faces of his order in Chile. The left-wing President Gabriel Boric recently even offered him a position in the government. Now he has been expelled from his order.

Published  on 12.05.2024 at 12:27  – 

The Jesuits in Chile have expelled the prominent Father Felipe Berrios from the order. As the newspaper "La Tecera" reported on Friday (local time), the decision followed an investigation into "acts of a sexual nature". The Jesuits accuse Berrios of having violated rules in his dealings with minors.

"After a long canonical process, the Superior General of the Community of Jesus has ordered the expulsion of Felipe Berrios after examining the information gathered," the report said in a statement. The Jesuits also banned Berrios from "the public exercise of the priesthood and any pastoral contact with minors for a period of ten years". According to media reports, the case concerns allegations of sexual misconduct towards girls and young women, which led to the temporary suspension of the Jesuit priest in 2022 after they came to light.

The Jesuit is one of the best-known faces of his order in the country. He founded numerous social non-governmental organisations in Chile and has also worked in Burundi and the Congo, for example. In March, the new government of left-wing President Gabriel Boric offered the priest a leading role in social housing projects in the responsible ministry. While his order gave him the green light, Berrios declined the post. After the allegations came to light, President Boric suggested the establishment of a state truth commission to investigate cases of clerical abuse. In such cases, one must always stand on the side of the victims, Chilean media quoted him as saying. The aim must be to ensure that the victims do not feel defenceless. (KNA)