Year in review: For pope, it was year to come to terms with abuse crisis

Catholic News Service

December 27, 2018

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis marked the fifth anniversary of his election in March in the midst of a firestorm over his handling of clerical sexual abuse and bishops’ accountability in Chile.

He soon apologized for his slow response and invited Chilean abuse survivors to the Vatican and then all the country’s bishops to meet with him in May. By mid-October, the pope had dismissed two Chilean bishops from the priesthood and accepted the resignations of seven others.

The firestorm began when Francis visited Chile and Peru in January, but the trip also included a meeting with the region’s indigenous peoples, marking an important stage in the preparation for the 2019 special Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, which will focus on safeguarding creation and on the pastoral care of the people who live in the region.

Also during 2018, Francis traveled to the Geneva headquarters of the World Council of Churches to celebrate the ecumenical body’s 70th anniversary; he went to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families; and he visited the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

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