Vatican City – Pope Francis will on Saturday meet five Chilean priests, who were sexually abused by another priest, Fernando Karadima, in an effort to heal their wounds and those of the church, the Vatican said.
In a letter to Chileans issued last week, the pope had voiced his “shame” that the Catholic church had failed “to listen and react in time” to allegations of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy.
Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.
In a statement Saturday, the Vatican said the pope would meet the five Chilean priests shortly as part of efforts to heal them and the Church.
“With the help of the five priests, the pope will try to find a solution to the internal fracture of the community of the faithful.
“In this way, it will be possible to begin to rebuild a healthy relationship between the faithful and their priests, once everyone has come to terms with their own wounds,” it said.
Last month, all 34 Chilean bishops announced their resignation over the scandal after Francis summoned them.
Since 2000, about 80 Roman Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.
The pope has apologised to the victims.
The Vatican suspended Karadima in 2011, requiring him to live a life of penitence for the harm caused.