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Pope Francis visits Chile and Peru

Pope Francis visits Chile and Peru

Pope Francis is telling Chile's priests that sexual abuse of children not only has caused pain to the victims but also to the priests who have been held collectively responsible for the crimes of a few.

A man exhibits on his chest photos of Pope Francis to sell outside St. Jose Cathedral ahead of the papal visit in Temuco, Chile, Jan. 14, 2018. They interrupted him with applause when he said he felt "bound to express my pain and shame" that some of Chile's pastors had sexually abused children in their care.

On Tuesday Francis made his first official address of the trip in the presence of President Michelle Bachelet, other Chilean officials and foreign diplomats.

But the pope did not receive a universal welcome, with scuffles breaking out between riot police and demonstrators in the vicinity of O'Higgins Park.

Chile Pope
Inmates reach out to Pope Francis as he visits the San Joaquin women’s prison in Santiago

He said the Catholic Church was committed to "ensuring that such things don't happen again".

Francis didn't refer by name to Chile's most notorious pedophile priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was sanctioned in 2011 by the Vatican to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" for sexually molesting minors.

Francis' visit - his first to Chile as pope - has been overshadowed by a report outlining the depth of sexual abuse in the local church, and his appointment of a bishop who many here believe covered up the country's most prominent sex abuse scandal. Victims went public with their accusations in 2010, after complaining for years to church authorities that Karadima would kiss and fondle them when they were teenagers.

"This is a crucial opportunity for Francis: With luck, he will not make the mistake of his brother bishops in underestimating the savviness and moral outrage of the Chilean people", said Barrett Doyle, whose research shows some 80 Chilean priests have been credibly accused or convicted of abuse.

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