NEW YORK (NY)
January 22, 2018
By Gerard O’Connell
In an hour-long press conference on the plane from Lima to Rome, Jan. 21, Pope Francis asked pardon from the victims of sexual abuse by priests or religious for his use of words that offended them in his remarks about Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile. But he also reaffirmed his support for Bishop Barros, saying he has not received any evidence against him.
On Thursday Jan. 18, the pope told reporters on a plane flight in Chile, “The day they bring me proof against the bishop, then I will speak. There is not a single proof against him. This calumny! Is that clear?” Francis stated.
Responding to a question from a Chilean journalist today, Pope Francis spoke of “what the abused feel” regarding his remark.
“I must ask pardon [from them] because the word ‘proof’ has hurt many of the abused, and [what] I meant to ask for was ‘evidence.’ I ask forgiveness. It’s a hurt [caused] without wishing it,” Pope Francis said.
“I know that there are many abused people who cannot bring proof; they do not have it. Or they cannot [produce it], or at times they have it, but they are ashamed and that stops them, and they suffer in silence. The drama of abused persons is tremendous.”
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