Pope meets child abuse victims in Chile
Pope Francis publicly expressed "pain and shame" on Tuesday over the rape and molestation of children by priests in Chile and later listened, prayed and cried at a private meeting with victims.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the meeting took place in the Vatican embassy in Santiago.
"No one else was present. Only the pope and the victims," the spokesman said. "This was so they could speak of their suffering to Pope Francis, who listened to them and prayed and cried with them."Mugabe's political chaos
It was the end of an intense day for the pope, during which he spoke of sexual abuse twice, once asking forgiveness for abuses he said had done "irreparable damage" to victims.
The scandal has gripped the nation, prompting many politicians to criticise the Church in the staunchly Catholic country.
"Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church," he said, in front of a crowd containing President Michelle Bachelet.Two Koreas begin rare talks at border
"I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again," he said.
The crisis centered on the pope's appointment in 2015 of Bishop Juan Barros to head the small diocese of Osorno in south-central Chile.
Barros, who attended a papal Mass on Tuesday, has been accused of protecting his former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years.Crews wrestle to tame Iranian tanker fire
Karadima has denied the allegations, and Barros said he was unaware of any wrongdoing.
Francis returned to the theme of abuse on Tuesday evening in an address to priests and nuns in Santiago's cathedral.
Police in riot gear dispersed some 200 demonstrators trying to make their way to a park in Chilean capital Santiago, where the pope - the first Latin American head of the Church - said Mass for 400,000 people.What is behind the covert Israeli-Saudi relations?
And hours after the pope arrived in Chile on Monday, two small wooden churches were burned to the ground near Temuco, where Francis is due to visit on Wednesday.