ROME – After a gallbladder surgery left him in the hospital for three days, Archbishop Charles Scicluna has been discharged, and will continue investigating allegations of abuse cover-up by a local bishop in Chile.
According to a Feb. 23 statement from the Archdiocese of Malta, Scicluna was discharged from San Carlos de Apoquindo Hospital in Santiago earlier in the day.
He will be staying at the apostolic nunciature of Chile, where he will continue to investigate allegations from several witnesses accusing Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno of covering up abuse committed by his longtime friend and mentor, Father Fernando Karadima.
In 2011, Karadima was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.
Scicluna is the Vatican’s top man on sex abuse appeals cases. In addition to heading the Archdiocese of Malta, in 2015 he was named by the pope to oversee the team in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith charged with handling appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse. He served as the congregation’s Promoter of Justice for 17 years, and is widely known for his expertise in the canonical norms governing allegations of sexual abuse.
He arrived in Santiago Feb. 19 to interview victims of Karadima’s abuse and those opposed to the 2015 appointment of Barros as Bishop of Osorno, whom they say not only covered up for Karadima, but also at times participated in the abuse.
Prior to arriving in Santiago, Scicluna stopped in New York to interview Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima’s most high-profile victims and one of Barros’ most vocal opponents. He then went to Santiago to interview additional witnesses related to the Barros case.
Scicluna was admitted to the hospital in Santiago Feb. 21 after experiencing several days of abdominal pain and underwent surgery.
By order of the pope, he stayed in the hospital to recover for three days while Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, an official from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who accompanied Scicluna as notary for the case, took over the interviews.
However, now that he has been discharged Scicluna will continue the investigation as normal while continuing to recover at the Chilean nunciature. He is scheduled to return to Malta Feb. 25.