SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A Vatican investigator sent to Santiago by Pope Francis to interview sex abuse victims has been hospitalized with an undisclosed health problem, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna was stable and conscious in a clinic east of Santiago and hoped to return to work soon, said spokesman for the Episcopal Conference Jaime Coiro.
Pope Francis decided the interviews should continue and Scicluna will be replaced by Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest, Coiro said.
“It’s a health problem that has been ongoing for several days,” Coiro told reporters, referring to Scicluna.
Scicluna is in Chile looking into accusations that a bishop covered up crimes against minors. He arrived on Monday and started hearing victims’ testimony on Tuesday.
Before his trip to Chile, Scicluna heard testimony in New York from a witness in the case against Bishop Juan Barros, accused by several men of covering up sexual abuse of minors by his mentor Father Fernando Karadima.
The Karadima case has gripped Chile and several groups in the country protested Pope Frances’ decision to appoint Barros bishop of Osorno in 2015.
Scicluna was due to hear testimony from victims until his scheduled departure from Chile on Friday.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Hugh Bronstein and Andrea Ricci)