Pope Francis held a meeting on the abuse scandal in Chile and will continue to follow the actions of the country’s bishops’ conference in response to the crisis, the Vatican press office said Friday.
According to press office vice director, Paloma Garcia, Francis is following “with interest” the response of the Chilean bishops and “has expressed his desire to continue to clarify all the questions in order to give a just answer to everyone.”
The pope met with Bishop Juan Ignacio González of San Bernardo and Ana María Celis Brunet, president of the Chilean National Council for the Prevention of Abuse, in the Vatican’s Santa Marta House Aug. 10.
An attorney, Celis was appointed to the position in early August by the Chilean bishops, during a week-long meeting to consider the roots of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Church in their country and to define guidelines to implement in their dioceses.
The Vatican statement on their meeting said the aim was “to get information and exchange views on the steps being taken in Chile to deal with cases of abuse and to prevent them from happening again.”
The conversation also referenced the suffering of victims and the need to provide “consolation and reparation.”
Friday’s meeting follows similar encounters the pope conducted over the last few months with victims of abuses which occurred at Fr. Fernando Karadima’s Sacred Heart parish in Santiago.
Karadima, a Chilean priest who committed sexual abuse, and abuse of power and conscience, was convicted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2011 of abusing minors, and sentenced to a life of prayer and penance. He has not been sentenced by civil courts because of Chile’s statute of limitations.
A sacerdotal association which Karadima had led, the Priestly Union of the Sacred Heart, was suppressed within a year of his conviction.
Pope Francis Aug. 6 wrote to the Chilean bishops’ conference to express his approval of their newly-adopted plan to prevent future instances of sex abuse within the Church.
“I was impressed by the work of reflection, discernment, and decisions that you have made,” the Pope wrote in his Aug. 5 letter to Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales of Chile’s military diocese, who is president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.
Francis was responding to the Aug. 3 statement issued at the conclusion of the week-long meeting of the Chilean bishops to address the sexual abuse crisis.
The bishops acknowledged they had failed in their duty as pastors in the face of the cases of sexual abuse committed by priests and presented some short- and medium-term measures in order to determine the truth and to secure justice and reparation for the victims.