Monday, 21 January, 2019

Pope Francis arrives in Chile amid anger over priest sex abuse

Pope Francis arrives in Chile amid anger over priest sex abuse Pope Francis arrives in Chile amid anger over priest sex abuse
Stacy Diaz | 17 January, 2018, 01:47

At least six churches have been bombed in three days, and one threat said the next bomb will be in Pope Francis's cassock.

POPE FRANCIS "Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church".

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told journalists at a briefing Thursday there's a chance Pope Francis would meet with victims of clerical sex abuse privately in Chile, describing it as "not impossible". When protests erupted, Francis dug in.

The pope will try to inject new energy into the church during his visit, which gets underway in earnest Tuesday with a series of protocol visits for church and state.

History's first Latin American pope didn't refer by name to Chile's most notorious pedophile priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was sanctioned in 2011 by the Vatican to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" for sexually molesting minors. However, this possibility could be muddied by the pontiff's 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who had been charged of covering up for a priest in the 1980s and "90s, the National Catholic Reporter relayed".

Anne Barrett Doyle of the online abuse database,, praised Francis for opening his visit with the apology, but said Chileans expect him to take action against complicit church leaders.

A poll by Santiago-based think tank Latinobarometro this month showed that the number of Chileans calling themselves Catholics fell to 45 percent previous year, from 74 percent in 1995.

Despite the warm welcome in Santiago, the abuse scandal has left many Chilean Catholics disillusioned seen with polls showing lukewarm enthusiasm for the visit.

For the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, there are approximately 9,500 personnel "that will be present at each of the trips that take place on Tuesday in the capital".

"It's a great honor to be here", said Jacqueline Olguien, 48, part of a group of 15 from a parish in Santiago.

Included in the pope's list were "children who look out on the world with eyes full of amazement and innocence and expect from us concrete answers for a dignified future". Numerous women wept, and the pope seemed choked up when the inmates sang a song they had composed for him.

Francis, a keen defender of the rights of migrants, was addressing a congregation including migrants and refugees from some 50 countries, whose flags festooned the area around the altar in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

It is the second most secular country in Latin America.

Argentina-born Francis, who was the first non-European elected to the post in almost 1,300 years, has criticised President Donald Trump's stated intention to build a wall to stop illegal migrants crossing the USA border with Mexico. "We are all very proud of him".

On his visit to Peru, the second leg of the January 15-22 tour, Francis will also find a destabilising political corruption crisis has reopened wounds from one of the country's darkest periods of human rights abuses.

Francis' trip is aimed at highlighting the plight of immigrants and underscoring the need to preserve the Amazon rain forest.

However, this is not the first time Francis, who is more vocal than many of his predecessors on political matters, spoke on abandoning nuclear weapons.

Francis was welcomed at Santiago's global airport by Bachelet.