January 17, 2018
Pope Francis has met a group of victims of sexual abuse by priests in Chile.
The meeting at the Vatican’s mission in Santiago was “strictly private”, his office said, providing no further details.
Earlier during his visit to Chile, the Pope felt “pain and shame” over the sex abuse scandal, asking the victims for forgiveness.
He has been criticised in Chile for a decision to ordain a bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by a priest.
Francis also mentioned the issue when he said Mass for some 400,000 people in Santiago on Tuesday.
“I know the pain of these cases of child abuse and I am following how much is needed to overcome this serious and painful evil,” he said.
He spoke of his sympathy with “victims and their families, who have seen their trust in ministers of the Church betrayed”.
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On Monday, activists fighting for the rights of sexual abuse victims gathered in Santiago for a conference.
They launched an organisation called Ending Clerical Abuse which “seeks to stop child sexual abuse by the clergy” worldwide.
One of the activists, Juan Carlos Cruz, told the BBC: “[Saying sorry] is not sufficient for a survivor. What we want is for the Pope to take action.”
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