Pope Francis has named Mgr. Andrés Gabriel Ferrada Moreira, a priest from Chile who testified against a mentor who sexually abused numerous boys, as the new secretary of Congregation for the Clergy.
The appointment this past Wednesday comes three months after the pope named Archbishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of South Korea the congregation’s prefect.
Ferrada, 52, earned a doctorate in theology in 2006 at Rome’s Gregorian University and then returned to his home diocese of Santiago where he was prefect of theology at the seminary.
He has been an official at the Congregation of the Clergy since 2018 and, in addition to his new appointment as the office’s No. 2 official, he will also be ordained titular archbishop of Tiburnia.
It is expected that Archbishop You, who turns 70 in November, will be made a cardinal in the next consistory.
The appointment of Archbishop-elect Ferrada signifies a much greater recognition than the Chilean’s recent work at the Vatican.
He was one of the first priests to publicly testify before the Chile’s justice system against Fernando Karadima, the most notorious figure in the country’s huge clergy sex abuse scandal.
An essential testimonyKaradima, who died in July 2021, was guilty of multiple cases of sexual abuse.
He was convicted of sexual assault on minors in 2011 with violence and abuse of his ecclesiastical authority.
The pope then definitively removed him from the clerical state in September 2018.While Archbishop-elect Ferrada was never sexually assaulted by Karadima, he testified that the former priest had a manipulative personality and was capable of «exerting great influence on people».
This testimony was essential, as it confirmed the complaints of many victims.
Maria Olivia Monckeberg, a journalist who published a book in 2011 entitled Karadima. El señor de los infiernos (Karadima: The Lord of Hell), wrote that Ferrada also witnessed Karadima’s inappropriate actions towards young men.
Ferrada said it was something «which made me uncomfortable, but which no one questioned».
Archbishop-elect Ferrada takes over as Clergy’s secretary from the now-retired French Archbishop Joël Mercier, who held the position since 2015.
Contenido publicado en LaCroix International