The Vatican has suspended a mission to investigate clerical abuse in Mexico due to the spreading coronavirus in Italy and most recently the Vatican, Mexico's Episcopal Conference announced Friday.
The Vatican suspended all foreign travel after registering its first positive test, leading to the postponement of the trip that had just been announced Monday, the bishops said.
The Vatican had said that two investigators — Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the deputy secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu — would be in Mexico City March 20 to March 27. No new date for their mission was announced.
They were expected to meet abuse victims, bishops and leaders of religious orders. The two prelates were the same Vatican officials who went to Chile in 2018 to investigate one case and returned with 2,600 pages of statements from more than 60 victims. Their investigation led Pope Francis to ask for forgiveness and approve new measures to hold bishops accountable for covering up abuse.
The mission to Mexico was known to have alarmed some in the Mexican hierarchy.
Mexico, which has the second highest number of Catholics in the world, has been accumulating cases of abuse and cover-ups for years.
Friday's statement said an email account set up to receive reports of clerical abuse would continue functioning for those who wanted to communicate with the Vatican's representatives.
Abuse by the catholic church has been an ongoing concern in Argentina as well.
At the end of February, survivors of church sex abuse descended on Rome, including three deaf-mute Argentines who marched to St. Peter’s Square.
They were among the victims of violent sexual abuse by priests in the Argentine branch of the Instituto Antonio Próvolo, a Catholic run school for the deaf that also saw dozens of victims at its school in Verona, Italy.