Santiago, Chile, Jan 16, 2018 / 05:03 am
In the first official encounter of his apostolic visit to Chile, Pope Francis expressed his shame and sorrow for the child sexual abuse crisis that occurred at the hands of clergy of the Catholic Church.
“I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church,” the Pope said Jan. 16.
Speaking to the country's civil leaders, he said, “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.”
The Church in both Chile and Peru has faced strong fallout from sexual abuse scandals, which have damaged the Church’s image and created a strong distrust of the hierarchy.
The major case in Chile is that of Fr. Fernando Karadima, who once led a lay movement from his parish in El Bosque. He was found guilty of sexually abusing minors in 2011.
The Pope’s meeting with the Chilean authorities, civil society, and diplomatic corps was his first official encounter during his apostolic trip to Chile and Peru Jan. 15-22.
He will be in Chile through Jan. 18, visiting Santiago, Temuco, and Iquique. During the visit he will have lunch with the Mapuche residents of the Araucania region, and visit the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
From Chile he will go to Peru, visiting Lima, Puerto Maldonado, and Trujillo. He will meet with indigenous Amazonians and pray before the relics of Peruvian saints before returning to Rome Jan. 22.