Chile, the Pope meets some victims of abuse and cries with them

Chile, the Pope meets some victims of abuse and cries with them

By Andrea Tornielli from Santiago de Chile

The very private meeting, without the presence of other people, took place after lunch in the apostolic nunciature of Santiago. They are people raped by men of the Church.

On the day in which he expressed his shame at the sexual abuse of minors committed by members of the clergy and religious, asking for forgiveness and assuring that the Church will do everything to ensure that these facts do not happen again, Francis met and embraced some victims in a strictly private form. We do not know how many they were (it was a small group), nor do we know their names.

The meeting took place on Tuesday 16 January, after lunch, in the apostolic nunciature of Santiago de Chile. The paedophilia scandal, which involves dozens of priests, some influential such as Fernando Karadima, the formator of many priests some of whom have become bishops, has deeply marked the attitude of many people towards the Catholic Church in the country. Recently, in August 2017, new cases have emerged concerning a Marist religious.

Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, said that "the meeting took place in a strictly private form and no one else was present, only the Pope and the victims". In this way, the spokesman continued, "they could speak of their suffering to Pope Francis, who listened to them and prayed and cried with them". Burke declined to give details about each individual case and said that the meeting lasted just over half an hour.

Pope Francis, following the example of his predecessor Benedict XVI had already met with victims in September 2015, in Philadelphia. On that occasion he said to them, "Words cannot fully express my grief at the abuse you have suffered. You are precious children of God and you should always expect our protection, care and love. I am deeply sorry that your innocence has been violated by those you trusted”.

For those "who have been abused by a clergy member, I am deeply sorry every time you or your families have reported abuse and have not been heard or believed. Please believe that the Holy Father listens to you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops have failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very worrying to know that in some cases it was the bishops themselves who committed the abuses. I promise you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may take us."

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:31
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