During his visit to Chile, Pope Francis finally said that he deeply regrets that Chilean priests’ were involved in sex abuse against children.
In protest at the abuse at least nine Catholic churches were attacked and burnt in the country over the past few days.
The pontiff said he felt he was “bound to express my pain and shame,” seven years after reports emerged that Chilean clergy had been committing sexual abuse against children in their care.
In his address to lawmakers, judges and other authorities at La Moneda palace in Santiago on Tuesday, Francis said “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again”
He asked “for forgiveness” for the “irreparable damage” done to children who were raped and molested by Catholic priests in Chile.
Press TV reports: The top Vatican authority, the first Latin American pope in history, arrived in Chile late on Monday. He held his first public Mass to the cheers and jubilation of tens of thousands of well-wishers.
However, the trip has been marred by the famous sex scandal, which first emerged in 2010, and also deep-rooted anger among the Chileans for Francis’ appointment of pontiffs that had been connected to the scandal.
At least nine churches have been set ablaze or firebombed in the past few days while protests have been planned for Tuesday and Wednesday by those opposed to Juan Barros, the bishop of the southern city of Osorno, whom many accuse of being very close to Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest, Reverend Fernando Karadima, who was sacked in 2011 by the Vatican.
According to DW.com, Pope Francis made no direct mention of Fernando Karadima, the country’s most notorious priest, who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for sexually molesting minors.
He also did not mention the fact that the emeritus archbishop of Santiago knew of complaints against Karadima — a charismatic and well-connected priest — but did not remove him from ministry.