Archbishop of Bogota named Cardinal allegedly covered up pederasty cases in Colombia.

Journalist Juan Pablo Barrientos has denounced Monsignor Luis José Rueda on his social networks for having covered up cases of child abuse involving members of the Catholic Church in the country.

In the early hours of Sunday 9 July, Pope Francis named Monsignor Luis José Rueda Aparicio, Archbishop of Bogotá, a Cardinal of the Church. The news was welcomed by church members because this title is the highest that the pontiff can bestow.

After the appointment, opinions outside the Church were also heard. One of the most notable is that of journalist Juan Pablo Barrientos, who has repeatedly referred to the Church's treatment of cases of sexual abuse involving religious members.

In his books Dejad que los niños vengan a mí and Este es el cordero de Dios, the social communicator has exposed one of the social problems that has been dealt with 'under the table', pederasty within religious centres.

Now he is again involved with issues of the Catholic Church. On this occasion, he did so through a message on Twitter where he spoke about the appointment of Pope Francis with the now Archbishop of the country's capital, Luis José Rueda Aparicio.

Following Rueda's words of thanks for the election, the journalist wrote on his social networks at around 7:37 a.m. on 9 July: "Rueda Aparicio is yet another cover-up for the Colombian episcopate".

He added: "This man hired a very expensive law firm to protect #ElArchivoSecreto of the @arquidiocesisbo, where hundreds of complaints against priests who sexually abuse children and adolescents are kept. Rueda Aparicio is yet another cover-up for the @episcopadocol".

It is worth mentioning that Barrientos has also confronted the Church in the courts, due to lawsuits filed against his investigations related to child abuse. One of the most prominent chapters has to do with the Colombian bishops' disregard for two rulings of the Constitutional Court that oblige priests to answer for cases of pederasty and abuse.

Juan Pablo began the investigative processes against members of the church since (2018) date from which he has been collecting accounts of people who claimed to have been accessed years ago. He therefore decided to send 137 freedom of information requests to bishops and superiors of the Catholic Church in the country so that they could provide information that could resolve the accusations against the clergy. To date, most of the superiors have decided to ignore the judicial determination issued by the Constitutional Court in 2020 and 2022 that obliged them to hand over the requested information.

During this time Rueda spoke to W Radio about the judicial investigations being carried out against several members of the institution for cases of pederasty. "I join the families of the victims and ask for their forgiveness and that of society".

In February this year - 2023 - Luis José Rueda Aparicio referred for the second time to cases of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church during the 114th Plenary Assembly of the Colombian Episcopate, the religious leader closed the day with a request for forgiveness from the country's bishops to those who have suffered this type of 'scourge'.

The president of the Assembly was in charge of sending a message, in which he acknowledged that sexual abuse "is a crime, it is a grave sin, it is a crime".

In the same vein, the Monsignor referred briefly to a decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to suspend Carlos Yepes, a member of the church in Antioquia who was denounced by three men, who claimed to be victims of sexual abuse by the priest when they were minors, from priestly ministry.

On the case: "With humility, and in the infinite mercy of God, we ask for the complete healing of the victims and that the truth may shine forth in the canonical process and in the process of ordinary justice", he said in an interview with El Tiempo.

During the same interview, Rueda referred to the cases of pederasty that have occurred within the church and affirmed that they humbly recognise themselves as sinners. "We may not be the most sinful people in the world in the field of pederasty, but we must be the first to recognise this, to give an example and to ask for forgiveness".

He affirmed that the Church seeks to support the victims and their families, so that they can 'heal' both spiritually and psychologically. And he affirmed that they have given good treatment and attention to victims of pederasty through canonical and civil routes.


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