January 17, 2018 / 12:20 AM / a year ago

Pope meets victims of child sexual abuse in Chile 'cries with them'

Pope Francis waves while driving through Santiago, Chile January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Diaz

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Tuesday met with a small group of victims of child sexual abuse by priests in Chile, the Vatican said, adding that he “listened, prayed and cried with them”.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the meeting took place in the Vatican embassy in Santiago and was strictly private.

“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.”

On Tuesday morning, Francis expressed “pain and shame” over a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Chile’s Roman Catholic Church, asking for forgiveness for the “irreparable damage” done to children molested by priests.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Sandra Maler

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