04/25/2018, 12.42
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Pope Francis meets three Chilean victims of clergy abuse

They are Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andrés Murillo. They will be guests at Santa Marta residence and will meet individually with the pontiff, who will listen to "all their suggestions in order to avoid repeating such reprehensible facts". The declaration of the Holy See Press Office director underlines "pain" and "shame", as in the letter of Francis to the Chilean bishops.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - This weekend, Pope Francis will meet three victims of abuses committed by the Chilean clergy in the Santa Marta residence. These are Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andrés Murillo.

The director of the Vatican Press Office, Greg Burke, communicating the news today, states that "the Pope thanks them for accepting his invitation: during these days of personal and fraternal encounter, he wants to ask them for forgiveness, to share their pain and his shame for what they suffered and, above all, to listen to all their suggestions in order to avoid repeating such reprehensible facts ".

It is not the first time that Pope Francis has expressed "pain" and "shame" towards the victims of abuse in Chile, after an interview on his return from Chile, he had defended Msgr. Juan Barros, bishop of Osorno on charges of having covered the abuse by the priest Fernando Karadima, his friend and mentor.

The Pope had dismissed the accusations against Msgr. Barros as "slander" and had demanded "proof". In reality, the "evidence" had been received at the Vatican, so much so that Fr. Karadima was relegated to a life of penance and prayer.

Because of the criticism aroused by his position, Francis then sent Msgr. Charles Scicluna, archbishop of Malta and expert in investigations on abuses, to Chile, who reported a long dossier confirming the violence.

The Pope then apologized, expressing "pain" and "shame" in a letter of 11 April, addressed to the Chilean bishops, in which he admits that he "made serious errors of assessment and perception of the situation, in particular from a lack of truthful and balanced information ".

The statement published today stressed that the three will have "personal meetings" with the pontiff, for "all the necessary time", concludes: "The Holy Father asks for prayers for the Church in Chile at this painful moment, hoping that these meetings can take place in a climate of serene trust and be a fundamental step to find a solution so that abuses of conscience, of power and especially sexual abuse in the Church never happen again.

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