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News > Latin America

Chile Sex Abuse Victims Deliver Mixed Verdicts on Papal Talks

  • The pope was criticised during his February trip to Chile for defending Barros, whom he had appointed archbishop of Osorno.

    The pope was criticised during his February trip to Chile for defending Barros, whom he had appointed archbishop of Osorno. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 April 2018

After two hours with the head of the Catholic church, abuse victim Jose Andres Murillo said the pope's apology was "not enough."

The much-anticipated meeting with Pope Francis received mixed reviews Saturday from a group of victims who were sexually abused by a Chilean priest.

Victim of Chilean Pedophile Priest Tells Pope to 'Fire' Preachers Who Abuse Kids

One of the three victims, James Hamilton, said he was "very satisfied" with the dialogue with the head of the Catholic church, which he described as "sincere, welcoming and enormously constructive."

Prior to the meeting, Vatican Spokesman Greg Burke said: "Their priority is to listen to the victims, ask their forgiveness and respect the confidentiality of these conversations."

Another victim, Jose Andres Murillo, wrote on his Twitter account: "I spoke with the Pope for two hours. In a very respectful and frank way, I expressed the importance of understanding abuse as an abuse of power and the need to take responsibility, attention and not just forgiveness."

However, after two hours with the Catholic leader, Murillo said the pope's apology was "not enough."

The public has followed developments in the criminal investigation against Archbishop Juan Barros, accused of covering up a pedophile ring run by his mentor Fernando Karadima in a Santiago diocese during the 1990s.

Karadima was found guilty of molestation by the church in 2011 and expelled.

"I hope only that (the testimonies) are useful, that it helps to change what is necessary so that the world is a place where one can take care of others, to accompany and not to mistreat, and that the Catholic Church is allied and not among those who abuse," said Murillo.

A final session with victim Juan Carlos Cruz on Sunday will draw the meetings to a close. Cruz's traumatic experience has gained the most attention after he was violated while the archbishop looked on and did nothing.

"We hope to contribute our grain of sand (for) that this hopefully is the end of the culture of abuse and cover-up by the bishops in the church," Cruz said.

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