On Tuesday, the first day of a week-long Latin-America trip, Pope Francis asked “for forgiveness” for the “irreparable damage” done to children who were raped and molested by Catholic priests in Chile.
The pontiff met with a small group of abuse survivors at a “strictly private” gathering at the Vatican’s Apostolic Nunciature embassy in the capital, Santiago, the Vatican said.
Francis listened to their stories, “prayed with them and wept with them,” spokesman Greg Burke told reporters.
Earlier in the day, the pontiff made his first public remarks about abuse in a speech at La Moneda presidential palace.
Addressing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, lawmakers, judges and other authorities, the pope said he felt “bound to express my pain and shame” that some of Chile’s clergy had sexually abused children who were in their care. (Read more from “Pope Apologizes for Pedophile Priests” HERE)