Pope Francis hosts three victims if Chile's sexual abuse scandal this week - jerkand

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Pope Francis hosts three victims if Chile's sexual abuse scandal this week


The three men, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, have been among the most vocal survivors of abuse by priests in Chile. In a statement, the Vatican said that the pope would meet with each man individually, “allowing each one to speak for as long as they wish.”
Though the past three popes have apologized to victims of sexual abuse in many countries, the situation in Chile had become especially venomous, forcing Pope Francis to reverse his public stance on specific accusations.
Until recently, the pope had defended Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who victims say witnessed and covered up abuse by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, the country’s most notorious pedophile priest. In 2011, a Vatican tribunal convicted Father Karadima and sentenced him to a life of prayer and penitence.

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Juan Carlos Cruz said that he was honored to meet with the pope, but added that the encounter must result in “concrete actions.”TODD HEISLER/THE NEW YORK TIMES

[Read more about Juan Carlos Cruz and How He Forced the Vatican toInvestigate Sexual Abuse]
Even as accusations of complicity against Bishop Barros mounted, the pope appointed him bishop of Osorno, in southern Chile, in 2015, despite opposition from some in the Chilean church hierarchy and protests among the faithful.
Returning from a trip to Chile in January, Francis continued to support Bishop Barros, accusing victims of “calumny” because of a lack of evidence, and saying, “I am also convinced he is innocent.”
The pope’s remarks prompted outrage from survivors of abuse and their supporters, and he responded by sending Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the Vatican’s top investigators of sexual abuse, to investigate the Chilean claims.
The 2,300-page report Archbishop Scicluna drafted prompted Francis’ turnaround.
This month, the pope issued anextraordinary apology, admitting “grave errors” in how sexual abuse cases had been handled in Chile. He also invited the three victims to his home
“During these days of fraternal and personal encounter,” the pope “wishes to ask their forgiveness, share in their pain and his shame for what they have suffered, and above all, listen to all their suggestions, so that these reprehensible facts never occur again,” the Vatican said on Wednesday.

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James Hamilton, left, and José Andrés Murillo in Santiago, Chile, in February. The Vatican said that the pope would meet with them and Mr. Cruz individually, “allowing each one to speak for as long as they wish.”LUIS HIDALGO/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The pontiff has summoned Chile’s 32 bishops to meet at the Vatican in May. The Holy See said on Wednesday that the pope had asked people to pray for the church in Chile, and for his meetings with the three victims to “be a fundamental step to remedy and forever avoid” sexual abuses.
Mr. Cruz, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Murillo will stay at the Casa Santa Marta, which houses clergy members who have business at the Vatican. Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has made it his primary residence, rather than living in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace.
In an interview this week, Mr. Cruz said that during his weeklong stay at the Vatican he would speak to the pope about “the pain and suffering of so many people,” including of friends who had killed themselves. “I have to make sure our case is not treated as an isolated case,” he said

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