Chilean victims of sex abuse in the Catholic church said Wednesday Pope Francis apologized to them and admitted he was “part of the problem.”
Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo, who are victims of sex abuse, told reporters Wednesday Francis apologized not only for mishandling their cases but also for accusing them of slander, according to The Associated Press. The three men have for years alleged Bishop Juan Barros witnessed and covered up abuses they suffered at the hands of Rev. Fernando Karadima.
Francis long defended Barros and claimed he had received no evidence of sex abuse or testimony from supposed victims, despite allegedly receiving a letter from Cruz in 2015 detailing the abuses he claimed he suffered. Francis has now admitted he was in the wrong, according to Cruz.
Cruz said Francis told him “‘I was part of the problem. I caused this, and I apologize to you,'” according to AP.
“I believe that he was sincere,” Cruz added.
The three alleged sex abuse survivors had accused Francis of knowing about their complaints and of doing nothing so as to show favor to Barros, but Cruz said Wednesday he now believes Francis was simply misinformed.
The men have now seen the “friendly face” of the church after having been treated as enemies of the church in Chile for a decade, the three also said. They called on Francis, however, to turn his promises and apologies into action, or else their meetings with him over the previous five days would be meaningless.
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