Associated Press via Washington Post
January 16, 2018
The latest on the pope’s visit to Chile (all times local):
Pope Francis has met with a small group of Chilean victims of sex abuse by priests.
That is according to Vatican spokesman Greg Burke.
Burke told reporters that the meeting happened Tuesday at lunch. It was in the middle of the pope’s first full day in Chile, which included celebrating on outdoor Mass, meeting with the Chilean president and visiting a women’s prison.
Burke did not provide more details about the meeting victims.
Earlier in the day, Francis asked for forgiveness for the abuses committed against minors by priests.
Francis himself has been the center of controversy in Chile. In 2015, the pope appointed a bishop who had been close to the Rev. Fernando Karadima, the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.
Pope Francis is telling Chile’s priests that sexual abuse of children not only has caused pain to the victims but also to the priests who have been held collectively responsible for the crimes of a few.
At a meeting Tuesday in Santiago’s cathedral, Francis urged priests and nuns to have the strength to ask for forgiveness for abuse and the “clear-sightedness to call reality by its name.”
Francis denounced the “weeds of evil” that had sprung up as a result of the scandal, and said he appreciated how the church was responding to it. He said the scandal was particularly painful “because of the harm and sufferings of the victims and their families, who saw the trust they had placed in the church’s ministers betrayed. Pain too for the suffering of ecclesial communities, and pain for you brothers and sisters, who after working so hard, have seen the harm that has led to suspicion and questioning; in some or many of you this has been a source of doubt, fear or lack of confidence.”
He said at times, some had even been insulted in the metro and that by wearing clerical attire they had “paid a heavy price.” But he urged them to press on.
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