SANTIAGO, CHILE – On January 16, Pope Francis asked Chile’s clergy to “call reality by its name” and seek forgiveness from those who were abused by priests.
However, the pope acknowledged the discomfort from priests not involved in the scandal and admitted the difficulty of innocent priests facing suspicion.
“I know that at times you have been insulted in the metro or walking on the street, and that by going around in clerical attire in many places you pay a heavy price,” the pope told the assembled crowd.
The pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by clergy, the second time he has done so on a trip abroad.
The pope’s trip faced notable protests from groups concerned about the sexual abuse crisis in Chile and the 2015 decision by Francis to appoint Bishop Juan Barros Madrid of Osorno, Chile despite accusations that the bishop had covered up accusations against Father Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and ‘90s. These protests were met with further criticism of the trip’s overall cost and tension with Chile’s indigenous peoples.
Several churches were firebombed and vandalized in incidents related to the trip, raising tensions and risks during the visit.
The pope also met with the Chile’s 50 bishops on January 16, and visited with about 500 prisoners at a women’s prison.
On January 17, he visited the city of Temuco and met with some of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people.
For the full article in the National Catholic Reporter, click here.