HARTFORD, CONN. — On Wednesday, March 24, Pope Francis appointed a prominent clergy abuse survivor and advocate to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz joins 15 previous commission members whose terms were all renewed for one year.
Cruz was instrumental in uncovering the case of Fernando Karadima, an influential priest in his home country who was found guilty in 2011 of sexually abusing minors in a canonical process conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Though not mentioned in the release, sources confirmed to The Tablet that Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and Msgr. Robert Oliver would retain their roles as president and secretary of the commission, respectively. The commission was formed in 2014.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Cruz said he is “very grateful to Pope Francis for trusting me with this appointment. I deeply appreciate it. This renews my commitment to continue working to end the scourge of abuse and for so many survivors who still do not have justice.”
I am very grateful to Pope Francis @Pontifex for trusting me with this appointment. I deeply appreciate it. This renews my commitment to continue working to end the scourge of abuse and for so many survivors who still do not have justice @TutelaMinorum
— Juan Carlos Cruz Ch. (@jccruzchellew) March 24, 2021
Cruz was first proposed for the commission back in 2014. It was later discovered that two Chilean cardinals — Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz — conspired to block his appointment.
A gay man, Cruz was also outspoken last week against a March 15 Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document that restated the church’s stance against the blessing of same-sex couples.
In a column for the Chilean publication La Tercera last week, he called the statement “dismal.”
He added, “I will never allow them to tell me that I do not belong to something in which I believe, where a merciful God lives and where we all fit.”