Pope Francis plans talks with Pinochet dictatorship victims during Chile visit

The Independent

January 11, 2018

Pope Francis is to meet with two victims of Chile’s military dictatorship during his upcoming trip and is not ruling out a private encounter with victims of clerical sex abuse.

Spokesman Greg Burke made the comments while announcing details of the January 15-21 trip to Chile and Peru, Francis’ 22nd foreign trip and the sixth to his home continent of South America.

The encounter with two victims of the 1973-1990 Pinochet regime will take place on January 18 in the northern city of Iquique.

Mr Burke was asked if Francis would meet with abuse victims and while he said no meeting was planned, “that doesn’t mean it’s impossible”. He added that such meetings are best when conducted in private.

He said it was “clearly an important theme” in Chile, where the scandal has seriously hurt the Catholic Church’s credibility.

Just this week, online database www.BishopAccountability.org said it had found 78 priests or members of religious orders credibly accused or convicted of abuse against minors.

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