Pope Francis will host three victims of Chile’s sexual abuse scandal this weekend at the Vatican hotel where he lives, to ask their forgiveness and listen to their suggestions, the Vatican announced on Wednesday, as he tries to make amends for voicing doubts about their accusations.
The three men, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, have been among the most vocal survivors of abuse by priests in Chile. In a statement, the Vatican said that the pope would meet with each man individually, “allowing each one to speak for as long as they wish.”
Though the past three popes have apologized to victims of sexual abuse in many countries, the situation in Chile had become especially venomous, forcing Pope Francis to reverse his public stance on specific accusations.
The pope’s remarks prompted outrage from survivors of abuse and their supporters, and he responded by sending Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the Vatican’s top investigators of sexual abuse, to investigate the Chilean claims.
The 2,300-page report Archbishop Scicluna drafted prompted Francis’ turnaround. This month, the pope issued an extraordinary apology, admitting “grave errors” in how sexual abuse cases had been handled in Chile. He also invited the three victims to his home.
“During these days of fraternal and personal encounter,” the pope “wishes to ask their forgiveness, share in their pain and his shame for what they have suffered, and above all, listen to all their suggestions, so that these reprehensible facts never occur again,” the Vatican said on Wednesday.