Speed Reads

making amends

Pope Francis says he made 'grave errors' when dealing with Chilean sex abuse scandal

In a letter published Wednesday, Pope Francis invited Chilean victims of sexual abuse to come to Rome, where he plans to personally ask forgiveness for the "grave mistakes of judgment and perception of the situation."

Rev. Fernando Karadima of Chile was convicted in 2011 of sexually abusing minors and ordered to retire. Several of his victims have accused one of his protégés, Bishop Juan Barros, of knowing about the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. While visiting Chile in January, Francis defended Barros, saying the victims needed to show "proof" of their claims and sharing that he had twice rejected Barros' resignation.

After his trip, the pontiff sent Archbishop Charles Scicluna to gather the testimony of victims, and 64 of them spoke with him, giving him enough information to fill a 2,300-page report, The Guardian reports. Francis wrote that he felt "pain and shame" while reading the dossier, and he summoned all of Chile's bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting to discuss the scandal. The clergy must come together to "re-establish confidence in the church, confidence that was broken by our errors and sins, and heal the wounds that continue to bleed in Chilean society," he said.