Pia Union

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Group.png Pia Union  
(Catholic Church/VIPaedophile, Deep state group)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Parroquia Sagrado Corazón de Providencia (Chile).jpg
LeaderFernando Karadima
InterestsColonia Dignidad, René Schneider
Interest ofAlfredo Alcaino
Catholic Church sexual abuse blackmail group in Santiago's richest suburbs

The Pious Union (Spanish:Pía Unión) was founded in 1928 in Santiago de Chile. Since the 70s it was transformed by the priest Fernando Karadima into a mechanism to keep under his control the priests centered around his parish of El Bosque, which serves some of Santiago's wealthiest and most influential families. He also used it as a real estate umbrella that allowed him to manage enormous resources.[1]

His connections extended to officials in the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and to the papal nuncio to Chile, Angelo Sodano, who became a cardinal and Vatican Secretary of State in 1991. .[2] While the dictatorship was strongly anti-gay, it allowed the abuse ring in El Bosque to continue, partly as a blackmail opportunity, partly as a reward for loyalists.

“The other pending problem is that of power, which is the true center of the case of the former parish priest. Karadima's abuses would not have been possible without the constitution of a network of political, social and religious power such as the one that operated for almost half a century in El Bosque parish. Traces of this network can be found as far back as events as remote as the assassination of the Army Commander-in-Chief, General René Schneider, executed to prevent the assumption of Salvador Allende, a political "demon" for many of its members.
The true fact is that Karadima built a Church parallel to that of Santiago during the 80s and 90s, which satisfied the wishes of a very specific sector of Santiago society. That "para-church" formed the platform for the dominant positions that deteriorated the prestige of the entire institution starting in the 2000s.”

Ascanio Cavallo [3]


Karadima was a dynamic leader, described as "Impeccably dressed and with perfectly groomed nails and slicked-back hair", who "cut an aristocratic figure, appealing to both young and old in Chile's elite."[4][5] He trained 50 priests and several bishops.

Karadima had been influential in the spiritual formation and careers of dozens of priests and several bishops. Karadima's accusers charged those bishops and other high-ranking prelates had failed to investigate their claims of sexual abuse and had endangered the minors in their care.

When the Vatican found Karadima guilty, one of the bishops associated with him, resigned from his position as Vice-Chancellor of the Universidad Católica de Chile. Two others remained as heads of their dioceses, positions they had held since 1996 in one case and 2003 in the other. In 2015, the attempt to install the fourth, Juan Barros Madrid, as Bishop of Osorno, became a multi-year battle, first confined to Chile, but eventually drawing the attention of the Vatican and worldwide media coverage.

First Accusations

In 1984 a group of parishioners reported "improper conduct" on the part of Karadima to Juan Francisco Fresno, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile. One of them later told a court that he learned that their letter was "torn up and thrown away".[6] Fresno's secretary at the time was one of Karadima's protégés, Juan Barros.[7]

In mid-2003, a young Catholic, José Murillo, informed Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, the new Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, by letter that he had been abused by Karadima. The Episcopal Conference of Chile had established guidelines for handling accusations of sexual abuse by clergy months earlier, and the guidelines called for an investigation if the accuser demonstrates "good faith" and did not require an assessment of the accusation itself. Errázuriz told Murillo he was praying for him and in June 2004 he opened the first investigation into Karadima. Two years later, the investigator told Errázuriz that he found the accusers credible, and suggested certain courses of action. Errázuriz rejected the report. He explained years later in an interview with the magazine Qué Pasa that he mistakenly relied on someone else's assessment: "I made a mistake: I asked and overvalued the opinion of a person very close to the accused and the accuser. While the promoter of justice thought that the accusation was plausible, this other person affirmed just the opposite."[6]


In April 2010 a criminal complaint was filed by victims of sexual abuse, four men who were once devoted followers of Karadima. The Public Ministry appointed Xavier Armendáriz as special prosecutor and he promised an unbiased investigation.[8]

The Reverend Hans Kast testified that he had witnessed sexual abuse as did the Reverend Andrés Ferrada "but no one ever did anything about it".[6] The Reverend Francisco Walker, president of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, resigned from the court after admitting he had leaked the claimants' personal information to Bishop Arteaga and Father Morales.[6]

After seven months of conducting the probe, the court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that there was not enough evidence to charge Karadima. One of the claimants said: "We would have liked to appeal, but with defence attorneys like this, who have the Appeals and Supreme Court eating out of their hands, and a number of powerful people who continue to protect Karadima, we knew it would be an uphill battle that we were likely to lose".[9][10] Luis Arévalo and Luis Ortiz Quiroga, who also appeared for Karadima, were attorneys in the 1970s for Julio Bouchon, another participant in the Schneider assassination. They worked also for Colonia Dignidad.[10]

In response to the public accusations, Chilean church officials conducted their own investigation and in June 2010 submitted a 700-page report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). While that report was under consideration, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Errázuriz and named Ricardo Ezzati Andrello to succeed him as Archbishop of Santiago de Chile. On 16 January 2011 the CDF found Karadima guilty of abusing minors and sentenced him to a life of "prayer and penance", which the Vatican described as "a lifelong prohibition from the public exercise of any ministerial act, particularly confession and the spiritual guidance of any category of persons". His forced retirement included relocation to a place where he will not have contact with previous parishioners or anyone he mentored. On 18 February, Archbishop Ezzati made the decision public. Karadima continued to maintain his innocence.[11][12]


In 2021, the Chilean Catholic Church resolved to dissolve it, without specifying what will happen to its nearly 40 members, nor to the properties that were in its name and among which is the church of El Bosque itself, valued by the treasury at US $ 10 million.[1]


One of Chile's highest-ranking prelates, long-retired Cardinal Jorge Medina, expressed doubts that Karadima could be properly convicted of "sexual abuse" because "A 17-year-old youngster knows what he is doing." He defended the canonical sanctions imposed on Karadima, given his age and merits.[13][14] One of Karadima's accusers called the cardinal's remark about 17-year-olds "an unwarranted attack".[15] Another said he regarded Medina's statements as "extremely suspicious, as if he wanted to diminish the outline of these grave actions, reducing the issue to homosexuality in a very silly manner, as if, furthermore, homosexuality and abuse were synonymous". The statements, he said, "were an attempt to free from responsibility someone who took advantage of his position of power over more vulnerable persons".[16]

Antonio Delfau, a Jesuit priest in Santiago, said in 2011 that the Vatican decision on Karadima's guilt "is going to mark a before and after in the way the Chilean Catholic Church proceeds in cases like these, or at least it should", and "From now on, every case of sexual abuse must be treated with meticulous care and not be based on the gut feeling of a given church official."[17]


  1. a b https://www.ciperchile.cl/2012/04/13/iglesia-pone-fin-a-la-pia-union-de-karadima/
  2. https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/10797/paedophile-priest-karadima-is-dismissed-from-clerical-state
  3. http://www.uai.cl/columnas-de-opinion/los-susurros-del-poder
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/world/americas/23chile.html
  5. https://www.ncronline.org/news/parish/controversial-chilean-bishops-appointment-continues-divide-diocese
  6. a b c d https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/world/americas/28chile.html
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/world/americas/angry-protest-over-bishop-juan-barros-in-chile.html
  8. https://web.archive.org/web/20160303165612/http://themediaproject.org/article/chile-wrestles-religion-and-impunity
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/world/americas/26chile.html
  10. a b http://www.elmostrador.cl/noticias/pais/2010/04/28/los-nexos-del-caso-karadima-con-el-asesinato-del-general-schneider/
  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/world/americas/19chile.html
  12. http://www2.latercera.com/noticia/vaticano-rechaza-apelacion-de-fernando-karadima-y-mantiene-la-condena-en-su-contra/
  13. https://web.archive.org/web/20110709093715/http://www.lanacion.cl/cardenal-medina-y-caso-karadima--un-joven-de-17-anos-sabe-lo-que-hace/noticias/2011-04-01/141827.html
  14. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/priests-not-immune-from-the-devil-cardinal-warns
  15. http://latercera.com/noticia/nacional/2011/04/680-355539-9-demandante-de-karadima-critica-dichos-de-cardenal-medina-son-una-agresion-sin.shtml
  16. http://www.lasegunda.com/Noticias/Nacional/2011/04/638409/Victima-de-Karadima-critica-dichos-de-Cardenal-Medina-Constituyen-una-agresion
  17. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/world/americas/19chile.html |title=Chilean priest found guilty of abusing minors
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