Archbishop Charles Scicluna was admitted to San Carlos de Apoquindo Hospital in Chile earlier this afternoon, the Curia announced.
Scicluna is currently undergoing gallbladder surgery, and while the Episcopal Conference spokesman Jaime Coiro assured people that the problems affecting the archbishop are not extremely serious, “neither are we dealing with a very simple ailment”.
“It’s a health problem that has been ongoing for several days,” Coiro told reporters. The Archbishop is reportedly stable and conscious in the clinic east of Santiago, and hopes to return to work soon.
Earlier this afternoon, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted out that he is “following closely” the reports on Archbishop Scicluna’s health, going on to wish him a speedy recover.
The Prime Minister also said that he was in contact with the authorities in Chile to be able to have a better understanding of the situation.
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) February 21, 2018
Archbishop Scicluna is in Chile to look into allegations against a bishop accused of covering up crimes against minors. The Maltese bishop is Pope Francis’ top sexual abuse investigator, and his current meetings have been providing fruitful results.
Just this morning, Times of Malta reported that, after sharing his testimony with Scicluna yesterday, a Chilean man who was sexually abused by a priest said he was ‘hopeful’ that the testimony would lead to better protection for children.
“I hope that in the Chile of the future, there is security for children, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse, that Sename (Chile’s child protection service) cares for children,” James Hamilton told reporters. “I have no doubt that Monsignor Scicluna is going to share [with the pope] what is really happening in Chile.”
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.
He is due to hear testimony from victims until his scheduled departure from Chile on Friday, but had to suspend today’s meetings after the hospitalisation. Pope Francis decided the interviews should continue and Scicluna will be replaced by Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest, Coiro said.