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Pope 'making history' with Chile abuse summit

18 May 2018

Pope Francis today called on the worldwide community to "welcome" and "integrate" those forced to flee their homes and their countries.

Francis summoned the Chilean bishops' conference to Rome for four days of meetings and prayer after admitting that he had made "grave errors in judgment" in the case of a Chilean bishop accused of witnessing and ignoring abuse.

In a farewell letter given to each bishop, Francis said he had already apologized to the sex-abuse victims he had discredited.

He said the problem wasn't limited to a group of people, but can be traced to the training Chilean priests receive in seminary, blaming the "profound fracture" within the church on the seminaries themselves.

"In the light of these painful events concerning abuses - of minors, of power and of conscience - we have gone further into the seriousness of these situations as well as the tragic consequences they have had, particularly for the victims".

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Francis reiterated his heartfelt apology to the bishops and the victims, saying he is close to them and is united with them in "one single will and with the firm intention to fix the damages done".

"I thank you for the full willingness each one of you has shown to cooperate in all the short, medium and long-term changes and resolutions that we must implement to re-establish justice and the ecclesial communion", Francis wrote.

Pope Francis on Thursday, May 17, promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" following a child abuse scandal that has come to haunt his papacy.

The main agenda revolves around a 2,300-page April report with the pope kicking off the meeting by handing each cleric a list of themes he told them to meditate and pray.

The unprecedented summoning of the Chilean delegation is also a chance for Francis to fix some of the damage done during his visit to the country in January, when his defense of controversial bishop Juan Barros caused a public outcry.

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In 2011, Karadima was convicted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith of abusing minors and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.

Bishops Juan Barros, Tomislov Koljatic, Horacio Valenzuela and Monsignor Andres Arteaga renounced their episcopal duties under pressure over their roles in covering up Father Fernando Karadima's paedophilia, Clarin reports.

The letter ended with a call for the bishops to create a church which listens to "the hungry, the imprisoned, the migrant and the abused".

"As the Vatican is planning to exhibit world manuscripts at the Vatican Museum, Pope Francis wanted to translate the manuscript into today's Bali-Thai language", said Vira.

He said the meetings had been a "frank" exchange about "the grave events that have damaged ecclesiastical communion and weakened the work of the Church of Chile in recent years".

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Pope Francis himself didn't say much apart from a few simple things, Gonzalez said, one of which was a comment that the problems they are facing "are not like the problem of Jonah: we're not throwing Jonah down so he gets eaten by the whale while we continue surfing".

Pope 'making history' with Chile abuse summit