Pope Francis met sexual abused survivors Tuesday in Chile and cried with them, apologizing for the damage they suffered. It was his first day in the country and for full day he doved into the sex abuse scandal in Santiago.
Meanwhile, three churches were torched overnight amid unprecedented opposition to Pope’s visit to Chile. One of the churches were burned in the southern Araucania region where he will celebrate Mass tomorrow.
Police used water cannons and tear gas in the capital to break up protest outside the open-air Mass.
On the follower front huge numbers of people turned out to see the pope.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the pope met a small group of sexual abuse victims in the afternoon and prayed with them after listening to their stories.
Before meeting with the group he told Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as well as to judges and lawmakers that he felt bound to express his pain and shame that some clergy in the country had abused children who were under their care.
He didn’t refer any priest by name but in 2011 the country’s most notorious pedophile priest was barred from pastoral duties for molesting minors.
Ref. Fernando Karadima is a powerful priest and ministered to a wealthy community. He has been connected politically too. In 2010 several victims accused him publicly following complaining the same to church authorities that he kissed and fondled them during their teen age.
In 2015 Karadima was appointed as bishop of the southern city of Osorno and it was widely protested. Bishop Juan Barros said he is unaware of Karadima’s abuse.