- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
It hasn’t gotten the same attention at developments in Europe and the United States, but the Catholic Church’s pedophilia has been increasingly making news around Latin America in recent weeks.
In Brazil, an 83-year-old priest who allegedly molested altar boys as young as 12 has been placed under house arrest — some of the cases were caught on video and released on the Internet. The Mexico City archdioece barred a priest after it came to light that he had pleaded guilty to assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 1989. A priest in Chile is under investation for molesting five young men. Bishops in Chile and Brazil have condemned the abuses and asked forgivenes while Colombia’s Cardinal controversially defended the church’s past practice of keeping abuse allegations private.
As Steve Kettmann wrote recently Pope Benedict XVI has made reviving the church in increasingly secular Europe one of the main goals of his papacy — a goal that’s been severely undermined by the unfolding scandals in Ireland, Germany, and elsewhere.
But the damage to the church’s credibility in Latin America may be an even bigger concern for the Vatian, particularly given the increasingly popularity of Pentacostalism and other protestant offshoots.