Pope Francis admits 'grave errors' of judgement in Chile's sex abuse scandal

The Pope thanked Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Rev. Jordi Bertomeu Farnós for interviewing the victims and sending a lengthy report • Read the Pope's full letter below

Pope Francis has admitted he made “grave errors” in judgment in Chile’s sex abuse scandal, and invited the abuse victims he had initially discredited to Rome to beg their forgiveness.

In a letter published on Wednesday, Pope Francis summoned Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency summit in the coming weeks, to discuss the scandal which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.

"I apologize to all those I have offended and I hope to be able to do it personally in the coming weeks, in the meetings I will have" with victims, he said in a letter to Chilean bishops.

Earlier, Francis defended Bishop Juan Barros, telling reporters the accusations amounted to slander and asked for proof.

"The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, that's the day when I'll talk," Francis said. The pope later dispatched Archbishop Scicluna to Chile and New York to interview victims.

Scicluna and Bertomeu, spent nearly two weeks in Chile and New York earlier this year interviewing Karadima's victims, who for years denounced Barros' silence and were stunned by Francis' strong defence of him.

In the letter, the Pope wrote that after reading the lengthy report and the testimonies collected by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Rev. Jordi Bertomeu Farnós, he felt "pain and shame."

The pope's letter did not reveal Mgr Scicluna's conclusions, but he said  he wanted to discuss the findings with the bishops and asked for their cooperation in order re-establish serenity in Chile's Church and "repair the scandal as much as possible and re-establish justice."

The Pope's letter in full can be read in the pdf link below.

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