Pope admits he made `grave errors’ in Chile sex abuse scandal, begs forgiveness, invites victims, bishops to Rome.
Pope Francis dove head first into the sex abuse scandal that has devastated the Catholic Church’s credibility in Chile, apologizing Tuesday for the “irreparable damage” to victims, but also acknowledging the “pain” of priests who have been held collectively responsible for the crimes of a few.
Francis’ words were delivered amid unprecedented opposition to his visit: Three more churches were torched overnight, including one burned to the ground in the southern Araucania region where Francis celebrates Mass on Wednesday. Police used tear gas and water cannons to break up an anti-pope protest outside Francis’ big open-air Mass in the capital, Santiago.
Despite the incidents, huge numbers of Chileans turned out to see the pope on his first full day in Chile, including an estimated 400,000 for his Mass, and he brought some inmates to tears with an emotional visit to a women’s prison.